SEVEN of the one hundred hotels valued most in the world for their respect for the environment received awards yesterday from the international German tour operator, TUI; four of them are on Majorca and the other three on Minorca. The official award ceremony which is carried out each year by TUI on World Tourism Day, took place yesterday morning at the offices of the regional Tourism ministry. Amongst others, the occasion was attended by Tourism minister, Joan Flaquer and his counterpart in Environment, Jaume Font; also by TUI's Environment director, Wolf Michael Iwand. The hotels acclaimed for their high standards were the Robinson Club at Cala Serena, Grupotel Aldea Gran Vista, Hipotels Don Juan and Hotel Majorca Palace, all of which are on Majorca. Meanwhile, the outstanding selection on Minorca were the Hotel Santo Tomas, Hotel Audax and Aparthotel Club Royal Son Bou. The so-called “Oscars of the Environment”, as Iwand referred to them, have now been a tourist industry highlight for eight consecutive years. Competition is stiff as choice has to be made from all the hotels with which TUI operates worldwide. The “Oscar” itself, explained the company, is a commemorative plaque emblazoned with a “symbol that guarantees quality”, which is recognised by the European Union. Five of the seven outstanding establishments are also holders of environmental quality certificates from EMAS and ISO, independent watchdogs which set international business and service standards. Jaume Font highlighted the fact that the hotels awarded by the German tour operator “give a clear signal for other hotel establishments to follow”. Joan Flaquer said that there is an increasing appreciation by visitors to the Balearics of the Islands' leisure industry recognising the importance of preserving environmental quality. The tour operator, TUI, works with around 350 establishments of all categories in the Balearics, this year bringing about one million tourists to the Islands. The group is to promote the Green Card amongst its clients, allowing them discounted entry to cultural attractions. Proceeds from the sale of the card are used by the government to fund environmental conservation.