THE Balearic government will not make investments in any tourist resorts in the Balearics, unless the town councils and business associations come up with plans to improve quality in municipal services and amenities. The proposal has been put forward by the Balearic tourist ministry, and the chief purpose is to avoid repeating the mistakes of the early 1990s, when the government spent considerable sums of money on plans to improve resorts, but they were not complemented by corresponding measures by the town councils or the business sector. “We are seeking a commitment to improve the environment on a global level, not just the amenities. What will give an area value will be the effort to invest, and the response from the council, the private sector and business associations to raise the ratios of quality in services, image and quality of the environment. “If this commitment does not exist, there will be no investments,” tourist chief Joan Flaquer said yesterday.
His ministry's planning department will be in charge of co-ordinating the operation. “We will make town councils and business associations sign a document to improve quality, an essential condition for obtaining government funding to improve amenities.” He went on to say that everyone would be involved, not just the town hall and businessmen, but the entire commercial framework. “We want tourist areas with an overall level of quality which will result in an improvement to the entire area and will improve the global competitiveness of the islands,” according to Josep Aloy, the director general of planning. He added that what happened with the embellishment plans of the 1990s “served as an experience to illustrate certain attitudes, the only achievement of which was to counteract the government's efforts in a negative way, as there was no response.” He went on to say that this had had a distorting effect in the resorts, as other services and amenities did not improve. “This time,” he said, “the effort will be global and with definite responsibilities, and that is why town councils who want government funds will have to sign a document committing themselves to an overall improvement of quality. “If they fail to do so, they will be left out of the investment projects for improvements in resorts which will be carried out during the current legislature.” The announcement was made at the end of the first day of a two-day cabinet meeting in the hostelry school, to lay down government policies for the next few years. The tourism policy took up most of the debate, and Flaquer also announced that the government is willing to negotiate with hoteliers over the legalisation of ‘illegal' beds, providing the hoteliers are willing to comply. Possible solutions are converting rooms into suites, in cases where a hotel is marketing more places than it is licenced for. “We are here to find solutions to problems, not to clash head on,” Flaquer said yesterday.

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