Bel Busquets at the tourism committee meeting yesterday.

The tourism minister Bel Busquets appeared before the parliamentary tourism committee yesterday and stressed that there is to be regulation of the all-inclusive (AI) hotel offer.

Busquets appeared at her own request and also at the request of the opposition Partido Popular. The regulation of AI, she said, is currently being worked on. The draft will be presented some time during the first half of this year. She insisted that AI has to be "made compatible with the complementary offer (bars, restaurants and other non-hotel business)" and that it should not take away value or quality from the tourism product. In addition, "it should not alter the quality of life of residents".

The minister explained that consensus for AI regulation is to be sought with business and unions as well as with town halls and political parties.

Referring to the Balearic Tourism Agency's 2018 action plan, she highlighted the need for improved seasonal balance in tourism activity. The 'Better in Winter' campaign, she noted, needs to be promoted in order to combat seasonality.

Other objectives of the agency, she observed, are improved distribution of the income derived from tourism; greater understanding of the demand for and positioning of the Balearics in foreign markets; improvements to the quality of tourism and to public-private sector cooperation.

Busquets added that further aims are to increase tourists' average spending and the length of stays.

*The main discussion of all-inclusive regulation has centred on limits to free drink. It is expected that reform of the tourism law will only allow drink to be made available at meal times. However, might hotels (and tour operators) redefine what is meant by meals? The regulation and the inspection will have to be pretty tight in order to enforce this.

If the government is serious about improving quality, it might wish, for example, to consider a demand that was made years ago in Alcudia - that there can only be AI in hotels of four-star rating and above.