Austerity measures imposed on all regions of the country will mean that the Balearic Islands will be amongst those pruning funding for presence at major travel fairs right back, the regional Tourism ministry said yesterday.

The scarcity of resources in this sector will inevitably be noticed at the International “Fitur 2012” travel fair planned for January next year in Madrid. Already regions are announcing cutbacks in financing their presence at the Fair as well as in the amount of space they will be taking up on the stands.

The Balearics, under the new Partido Popular government, has already announced that it will be spending just 9 million euros on its presence at major Tourism Fairs and Travel Markets next year, just half of what was spent by the previous Socialist Coalition.

The ministry pointed out that if this cutback seems drastic, the region of Murcia can't afford to have a stand at “Fitur 2012” at all, just a space with some tables and chairs and no decoration, and that Andalucia has cut its budget for the Fair by 38 percent over the last three years.

This summer, the Balearic government announced that it is going to rethink its presence at the three major Travel Markets it attends each year - “Fitur”, the World Travel Market in London and the International Travel Fair in Berlin. The Tourism ministry said that fewer Balearic authorities will be attending and those that do will be cutting their time there down to the necessary.

The ministry said that it was more profitable for the Balearics to promote the presence of professionals in the tourist industry at such events. The Majorcan Hoteliers Federation (FEHM) said yesterday that although it welcomed the cost saving, its members believe that a Balearic Islands' presence at these three key annual events remains crucial to the industry.

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