By Humphrey Carter

PALMA
IT'S game, set and match for the world's best tennis player and the Balearic Ministry for Tourism after the two parties have apparently reached an amicable agreement to cancel the multi-million euro deal with Rafael Nadal to promote the Balearics around the world.

The initial three-year six million euro deal was signed in 2009 and was due to continue until the end of next year, but once the cost of shooting of 15 television and promotional videos, placing print media and on-line adverts etc and the publicity campaigns were added onto the base fee, the total bill of the three-year deal was apparently heading towards 15 million euros, a figure, under the current economic climate, the Ministry for Tourism, claims it can no longer afford. According to sources close to the negotiations, the decision to cancel the contract was reached amicably between Nadal's family and the Ministry for Tourism.

The first main television advertisement was the highlight of the Balearics' promotional campaign at the World Travel Market in 2009 with posters of Nadal all over the place and now this year, which is probably one of the best he has had so far as a tennis player and lifted him to the same global status as Roger Federer or David Beckham, the Ministry has decided to pull the plug on the global deal. It appears that the adverts have not been run as often as initially desired in key feeder markets such as the UK and Germany.

Apparently this year, they were only screened sporadically on Eurosport during this year's French Open.
Although, the Balearic Ministry for Tourism did mount promotional stands at the French Open and Wimbledon using his image. Rumours about the future of Nadal's promotional deal with the Ministry for Tourism have been rife over the past few weeks and there were also claims that he was going to be signed up by the Spanish Tourist Board Turespaña to promote Spain, but that has been denied by the Spanish Minister for Tourism, Industry and Commerce and, in the case of representing Spain any negotiations would have to be done between Turespaña and the Spanish Tennis Federation, not the player and his family.

Michael Douglas, Claudia Schiffer and now Rafael Nadal, all have been used to promote the Balearics but to what success.
The main international tour operators have always been rather skeptical over the vast amounts of money ploughed into these advertising deals and the success. Many maintain that the money would be better spent given to them so they can directly promote the Balearics to their customers and push the destination in their travel outlets.

That said, those same tour operators understand that the Balearic Ministry for Tourism has a financial black hole and needs to make cut backs. The promotional funding they should have received from the Balearic Ministry for Tourism in January, was not finally made available until September - which was a bit late for summer 2010.

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