The Soller train is to be a Balearic government tourism award-winner.

04-06-2011F.B.

The first winners of the regional government's new tourism prizes have been announced. These honorary awards are in recognition of individuals, organisations and initiatives committed to a model of tourism based on knowledge, social responsibility, sustainability and quality. Nominations were called for by the tourism ministry via the Balearic Tourism Agency, and the prizes will be given on 26 September at the first Night of Tourism, the eve of World Tourism Day.

The award winners in the five categories are:

Knowledge and research applied to tourism: Meteoclim, a company based in Palma's ParcBIT technology park which works on technological solutions for meteorology and climate change in the tourism sector; Socialvane, which converts massive volumes of social data into business intelligence useful to companies.

Best initiative for sustainable tourism: Robinson Club Cala Serena for its project "process three in one" for the use of seawater for heating and air-conditioning, drinking, and swimming-pools; the Council of Formentera for its initiative - recovery of the countryside - which consists of the creation of a fund for such recovery and for the farming and livestock sectors in preserving local identity and customs.

Best initiative for social responsibility: The Handisport Foundation, which since 2007 has promoted Majorca as a tourist destination for recreational and sporting activities and has also made accessibility one of the reasons why Majorca is chosen for disabled sports tourism.

Work, effort and professional dedication: "Las Kellys", representatives of hotel maids, a sector of the workforce which has suffered from job insecurity because of the economic crisis and labour reforms of the past few years; Ernesto Fajarnés, who was a co-founder half a century ago of the school of tourism in Ibiza, director of the first five-star hotel on the island and manager of the Fomento de Ibiza, the Ibiza Tourist Board.

Tourist experience: the Soller railway - Ferrocarril de Soller - which for more than a hundred years of operation has been an important means of transport as well as an emblem for Majorca's tourism; Las Dalias, which opened in 1954 and has since then been the school of dance "par excellence" in Ibiza.

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Geoff Dominy / Hace over 5 years

I took my Mum on the train from Palma to Soller last year to celebrate her 88th birthday. While the ride out was fine, the ride home was a disaster. There was a huge crush of people outside the gate because they would not allow people onto the platform. My Mum was pushed and shoved. Nobody offered any assistance. When they finally opened the gates she was almost knocked over as people rushed to get a seat. I wrote to the company to complain and did not even receive an automated response. I would never recommend it and will never use it again.

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