Tourism minister Biel Barceló has finally spoken about the Arran anti-tourist protest.

Finally, Palma town hall and a senior regional government figure have spoken about the recent anti-tourist protests in the city.

The mayor of Palma, Antoni Noguera, described the incident involving Arran as "reprehensible", adding that the town hall administration is committed to a sustainable tourism model that does not adversely affect the city. He pointed to efforts to introduce a ceiling on tourist places. Without such a limit, he said, the city could "die of its success".

The ex-mayor and now councillor for the model of the city, José Hila, voiced his concern at the apparent rise in "tourismphobia" in the city. He stressed that incidents such as the Arran "attack" at a restaurant should be condemned in a forceful manner.

Hila said that Palma is a very peaceful city but that he recognises there is a breeding ground for anti-tourism sentiment. He nevertheless referred to "opportunists" who have latched onto this sentiment as a means of giving themselves visibility.

He accepted that there has been some negative reaction to the success that Palma has as a tourist destination, but pointed out that tourists are sensitive to the type of messages being displayed. "We want them to continue coming."

According to Hila, the town hall was not aware of what happened at the restaurant on 22 July. The police, he explained, attended the scene but didn't inform the town hall. "It went unnoticed." Consequently, no measures were taken earlier. He added that the type of action by Arran cannot be treated with indifference. If there any doubts, he emphasised, it needs to be shown that there is no condoning of such action.

At a press conference, tourism minister Biel Barceló said that the principal economic activity in the Balearics cannot be "played" with in the way that Arran have. He wished to make clear that the government rejects what happened and that it was no way to express an opinion about what is otherwise a legitimate debate - that concerning the economic and tourism model.

"This is not the way to approach the issue," he stressed. The job of the regional government, he observed, is to modify the existing model, which is based on mass tourism, and to redistribute the wealth generated by tourism.

The Majorca restaurants association has also had its say, expressing concern at the "violent and exaggerated protests" by Arran. It called for prosecution and for condemnation and referred to statements made by the director general of tourism, Pilar Carbonell, who earlier in the week stated the government's rejection of Arran's action at the Palma restaurant.

While it is true that Carbonell did make her statement, it was most definitely not, as has been said in certain reports, a furious one. Forceful condemnation was absent, and it needs noting that Carbonell is a government official and not a minister.

The anti-tourist attacks have become a matter for the national government. Álvaro Nadal, the tourism minister, said yesterday that the state attorney's office is examining what has been happening and that he has spoken with counterparts at the interior and justice ministries in acting "with the utmost force" against the perpetrators.