To mark World Tourism Day, the third Night of Tourism was held on Thursday. Politicians and representatives of the tourism industry gathered in Ibiza, but absent was anyone from the hoteliers in Minorca.
Last week, the Ashome hoteliers association notified the tourism minister Bel Busquets that it would not be attending the event. The association believes that amendment to tourism legislation does not take Minorcan needs into account. It is angered in particular by proposals regarding all-inclusives, such as the prohibition of all-day freely available alcohol, considering this to be a "Majorcan" solution that is not applicable to Minorca.
There have also been disagreements at a political level. These surfaced last year in respect of holiday rentals legislation, with which the Council of Minorca was not in agreement.
This conflict aside, the some 200 people at the event heard President Armengol say that the tourism industry "has made quality its banner and its way". She identified achievements in improving salaries and contracts, in tackling seasonality by extending the season, in improving the lives of residents and tourist enjoyment. It is "a tourism that has turned into social and environmental sustainability in guaranteeing present profitability and, above all, an ever better future".
Bel Busquets observed that "the government has promoted courageous and necessary measures for pursuing environmental, economic, cultural and social sustainability in the Balearic Islands".
The Night of Tourism involves the handing-out of awards. These, Busquets remarked, are for tourism industry sustainability and quality and "recognise those initiatives which make a difference in terms of product diversification, improvement in working conditions, applied tourism research and international reputation". They are indicative of the government's tourism model, which is based on "adding value and not volume, because we cannot grow in an unlimited way".
As to winners of the awards, there was one for Pere Pascual of Alcudia-based Viva Hotels & Resorts. This was for the best sustainable tourism initiative, the Posidonia Maps project. And Alcudia town hall took the prize for best social responsibility initiative - Alcudia For All, with its emphasis on tourism for people with disabilities.