By Humphrey Carter
EUROPE's second biggest travel fair toasted the Balearics yesterday in London and its new ambassador, Michael Douglas.
If anyone had any doubts of Michael Douglas' star qualities they were quickly dispelled yesterday. Accompanied by the Balearic President Jaume Matas, Douglas signed the now famous agreement under which the Balearic government will buy the star's Costa Nord cultural centre in Valldemossa for 4.4 million euros. In return he will promote the Balearics at major international tourism fairs. “It is a great honour for me to become an ambassador for the Balearic Islands. I want to reflect these fantastic islands and its people,” he said.
Michael Douglas also dispelled rumours which suggested that he might be planning to leave the island. “I love Majorca and I want it to be a home for my family,” he said. The Hollywood star continued: “I first visited Majorca 25 years ago and I fell in love with it. I was struck with the beauty of the countryside.” Apart from his kind words Douglas also looked the part. Dressed in a smart business suit, he underlined how important the Balearics were for him.
Literally hundreds of people had gathered to watch the proceedings. Scores of journalists and photographers were present also with well-wishers and fans. Matas said that he was exceptionally pleased that they had managed to reach an agreement with Douglas and said that it was a great honour for the islands to have an ambassador of his calibre. While there has been plenty of talk about Costa Nord, that another famous institution from the mountain town was also represented. Los Valldemossas performed shortly after the signing ceremony adding a real Majorcan touch to the proceedings. One of the organisers at the World Travel Market said that yesterday really belonged to the Balearics. Under the deal which was unveiled yesterday, Douglas, will also be required to give two interviews a year to the international media about the Balearics. There is no exclusivity clause in the contract which will mean that the Hollywood star will still be able to do his bit for Bermuda where he has invested heavily in the tourist industry.

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