By Humphrey Carter
ON the eve of the start of one of the most important Mediterranean annual sailing regattas in Palma, the Balearic government yesterday pledged to step up its investment in promoting the region's nautical industry. With hundreds of leading international yachtsmen and women in Palma for the Copa del Rey regatta, the director of tourism promotions, Eduardo Gamero, announced yesterday that a fresh attempt is going to be made to promote the Balearics' nautical tourism industry. As the government continues with its efforts to boost quality tourism, Gamero met representatives from the nautical, golf and cruise sectors yesterday to discuss how best to promote their global appeal. In the short term a major publicity campaign is going to be launched and the nautical, golf and cruise tourism are to be given pride of place at forthcoming travel trade fairs. In September, however, Gamero said that more specific advertising campaigns, aimed at the 2006 market, will be launched.
Gamero said that the Balearic government greatly appreciates the importance of the nautical industry and pledged the government's full support. Last year the industry accounted for 2.8 percent of the region's GNP and employs over 8.000 people. The region's 20'000 moorings and 42 marinas, 73 percent of which are in Majorca, represent 12 percent of the Mediterranean's nautical industry. The present Balearic government is looking to help expand the sector after years of opposition from the previous left-wing local government.
Gamero also announced the government's intentions to expand the Balearic's cruise industry next year.
According to the latest figures, the cruise industry brings some 700'000 visitors a year to the Balearics, 200'000 of which combine their cruise with a holiday on one of the islands. A major effort is also going to be made by the government to make the region's golf sector more competitive.
At the moment there are 19 courses on Majorca, but five more are nearing completion and new courses are being built in Minorca and Ibiza.
Gamero said that he intends to increase the international press's interest in the region's golf tourism sector while attracting more international tournaments to the islands. As an example, he used the annual PGA tournament at Pula Golf which gets international television and media coverage.
100 '000 golfers come on holiday to the islands every year and spend an average of 215 euros per day and the government would like more of them.


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