SPEAKING at a European Tourism Forum in Malta yesterday, Balearic President Francesc Antich called for airport management powers to be shared with local government in regions where EU legislation was in force. He also called for European funding to be made available to modernise outdated tourist resorts.

The forum was a platform for discussion over what role individual governments were to play in fostering a new model for tourism in Europe. Antich proposed that a more qualitative result will be achieved if regional governments are allowed to share power in managing new tourism infrastructure. Involvement at a local level, claimed the Balearic President, will mean a sense of commitment to the success of the industry and employment for the future.

Antich said where regions of EU member states had their own legislative control, as is the case in the Balearic Islands, local government should be given the power to take part in running infrastructure of major strategic importantance such as airports.

The President claimed that the precedence that the Balearic Islands attached to the nurturing of the tourist industry in the region corresponded largely to the vision that the European Union were mapping out for the rest of the continent.

With this combined strategy in mind, Antich made a clear call to the European Union for them to provide financial support to regions where tourist resorts had become outdated and were in evident need of modernisation. He quoted the Playa de Palma as a prime example.

The President wants the matter to be discussed by the European Union at its debate on tourist development in member states in 2011.
He also saw fit to emphasize the need for regions of the EU which depended on tourism for the majority of its Gross Domestic Product, to be given the maximum opportunity to increase air route connections.


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