The tourist tax spending committee yesterday.

As expected, 62 projects have been approved by the committee for the promotion of sustainable tourism - the one which decides how tourist tax revenue is to be spent. There will in fact be 70 projects in all, as eight are continuing from last year's selection. These eight will be receiving 15 million euros, making the total revenue spend 64 million euros.

According to the committee, 76% of the 49 million euros for this year's projects will be for ones of high natural and cultural value and the improvement of the environment. Support for the projects came from all the members of the committee with the exception of environmentalists GOB and Amics de la Terra, who voted against, and from the Pimem business association and Felib federation of town halls, who abstained.

Biel Barceló, the president of the committee, said that the objectives for creating sustainable tourism promotion are being achieved. "Above all, the ecological footprint of tourism is being addressed by numerous projects for environmental improvement. There will also be improvement of the management of scarce resources, such as water, a rehabilitation of cultural and historical heritage, and economic diversification."

Barceló highlighted the "high and broad consensus" for projects aimed at the agricultural sector, with 7.2 million euros to be spent on boosting farming and the agricultural landscape. Finance minister Catalina Cladera said that with the allocation of 94 million euros since the tourist tax was introduced in summer 2016, the usefulness of the tax can be seen: it is a means of "redistributive and social justice".

Some of the projects, such as the 4.7 million euros to acquire the Es Canons finca in Arta, had been given significant prior publicity. It is one of twenty schemes with high environmental and cultural value with a total funding of 19.8 million euros. Eight projects for economic diversification, worth 7.9 million euros, include the one for electric mobility. Water projects will receive 8.2 million euros.

Palma, as anticipated, is to get some five million euros for three projects. Three million will go on the perimeter walkways and general upkeep at Bellver forest and the Torres del Temple, and the remainder (jointly with Llucmajor town hall) is for the Jueus torrent. The town hall was annoyed last year when it received no direct tourist tax funding. Mayor Antoni Noguera said yesterday that he couldn't understand why Palma hadn't received previous funding, given its "very significant tourism footprint" and the fact that it is the principal point of entry for tourists, both by plane and ship.

In all, 122 projects, which had needed 224 million euros, were initially submitted before the number was whittled down to the 62.

The committee's members are drawn from the government, the island councils, Palma town hall, the federation for town halls, business associations, environmentalists, the farming community, the university and the heritage association Arca.