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STAFF REPORTER PALMA

AFTER months of deliberation, the Balearic Minister for Commerce, Industry and Energy, Xesca Vives officially announced yesterday that Palma Arena is to become the capital's new exhibition centre.

Ever since the old exhibition centre near the abandoned GESA building was demolished to make way for the new convention centre, which is still in construction, the ground floor of the old Terminal A at the airport has been used as Palma's exhibition centre.

However, the location has never been considered suitable because of its location and complicated access for the general public.
A project to convert the crumbling old Lluis Sitjar football stadium into a new exhibition site had been proposed but, after careful examination, Vives said yesterday that the Arena is the best solution.

Not only has it already been built, although it ran over budget by an estimated 80 million euros and is at the centrre of a major fraud investigation involving a number of former politicians and senior members of the former Partido Popular government, it is also larger than the Terminal A site and Lluis Sitjar.

It is also practically in the centre of the city and within walking distance for thousands of people.
Apart from major international sporting events, the Arena is already regularly used for concerts, exhibitions and fairs and Vives claims that using the building will also save the government's Fairs and Congress department an estimated 800'000 euros per year because much of the exhibition infrastructure is already on site.