By Humphrey Carter

PALMA
THE Mayor of Calvia, a region which was once Spain's single most popular holiday destination, Carlos Delgado, yesterday presented his final budgetary proposal as mayor of the municipality and has set alarm bells ringing.

Delgado, who will not be standing for reelection for the Partido Popular at next May's local elections, is proposing a series of austerity measures for the municipality which includes a 21 percent reduction in the tourism budget and a 45 percent cut in the money spent on maintaining the local beaches.

Calvia's tourist industry has just suffered two extremely poor summer seasons and is about to enter into another difficult winter with many of the local businesses, in particular the resort bars and restaurants, that are remaining open for the winter braced for the worst low season ever. The budgetary proposal includes heavy cuts in all other areas apart from human resources and Calvia radio which will enjoy an increase in funding of five and 19 percent respectively.

But, what worries the opposition PSOE Socialist Party the most, and will send shock waves through the local tourism community this morning, are the proposals to slash funding for tourism and beaches, which are literally what Calvia depends on. “Only an irresponsible council would cut the funding of caring for and looking after our beaches, which are Calvia's principal image and the core of the local tourist industry, by half,” Alfonso Rodriguez the PSOE's candidate for mayor said yesterday. “It's deeply alarming and extremely worrying,” he added. “In these difficult times, the council should be making an extra effort to protect and support the driving force of the local economy and that is tourism. “We know that the public deficit has to be reduced but not to the detriment of tourism which is what drives the local economy,” he added.

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