By Humphrey Carter

PALMA
THE Spanish Minister for Tourism and Commerce, Joan Clos, brought some Christmas cheer to the Balearic tourist industry yesterday by proclaiming that the sector will enjoy another prosperous year in 2008.

Clos, in Majorca to launch the 57th Palma Regatta Novanou Cup, said that all the latest data suggest that the tourist industry will enjoy its third positive year in 2008.

He admitted that, on the whole, this year, the tourism industry fell short of the initial expectations but here in the Balearics, records tourism figures were set although there was a slight down turn in spending. Clos congratulated Balearic tourism industry and its affiliated sectors for the effort which has made to improve the quality and diversity of products and services offered but stressed that the industry can not afford to take its foot of the pedal.

On behalf of his Ministry for Tourism, Clos responded to criticism over the continual delays in the project to reform the Play de Palma giving his assurances that all the relevant parties are locked in talks over the project but, he stressed that a reformation and redevelopment on this scales “takes time”.“We have to work within the planning laws, we have to have full consultation from the Playa de Palma hotel sector, local businesses, everybody is going to be affected by the projects has to be consulted,” he added. “We are working hard with the Balearic government with the aim of drawing up a plan which will guarantee quality tourism for the future and in doing that we want to restore and preserve the environment in the process of reforming all holiday resorts,” explained Clos.This winter, the Playa de Palma is one of the few resorts which has a handful of hotels open but local businesses are complaining because the majority of winter visitors are on all-inclusive holidays and are spending very little in resort.The reformation of the area can not come soon enough for the stretch.

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