Tourism minister Barceló speaking during the Fitur presentation of the Palacio de Congresos.

5

Another travel fair and another presentation of Palma's Palacio de Congresos. Having made a presentation of the centre and performed an official contract signing ceremony in London in November, Mayor Hila and Melià's vice-president, Gabriel Escarrer, presented the Palacio at the Fitur fair today.

Hila said that one of Palma's greatest challenges as a tourist destination is being able to manage its success and the volume of tourists. The city is therefore looking for tourism diversification to tackle seasonality and generate wealth throughout society.

The Palacio, he noted, will be a point of attraction for business tourism, conventions and incentives, especially in the low-season months. "This is a tourism segment of economic and strategic importance to the city, and one from which no one should feel excluded."

He thanked Joana Maria Adrover, the tourism councillor, for the effectiveness, accountability and transparency of her efforts and those of her department in bringing the Palacio to fruition. He also thanked Melià for its commitment to Palma and to the type of tourism the Palacio will bring.

The mayor pointed out that the Palacio has been long in the waiting and that after many years of delay, it is now ready. "There are no legal obstacles of any kind," which was a point echoed by Escarrer.

The Melià boss said that the aim is to make Palma a MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences, exhibitions) destination of the first order. He wants it to become one of the top fifty destinations of its kind. In around four years, he predicted, the Palacio will have had more than 77,000 visitors and generated over 21,000 million euros.

In line with the centre making inroads into the low season, Escarrer added that there will be a motor show at the end of October, start of November this year.

The Palacio will open on 1 April. It can hold up to 3,100 people. The adjoining Melià Palma Hotel has 268 rooms and has additional meeting rooms.