The Majorca Tourist Board awards on Monday night. | Pere Bota

At its annual awards ceremony on Monday night, the Fomento del Turismo (Majorca Tourist Board) criticised tourism policies of the national and regional governments. Decisions have been taken, said the board's president Eduardo Gamero, that are against competitiveness and the sound operation of the tourism sector. "These produce a negative effect and perception in the eyes of tourists."

Gamero continued: "Although we respect the Balearic government's decisions, we believe that the application of the tourist tax damages the image of a tourism destination that otherwise has to count on renewal of infrastructure and services thanks to private investment." The tourist tax, observed Gamero, "is not being used to improve tourist resort infrastructure".

Because of the recovery of competitor destinations, the board's president argued that the tourist tax should be scrapped in 2019 or else the tourism sector will lose more competitiveness. He expressed a business concern regarding negative attitudes and messages against tourism and stressed that tourism is Majorca's principal industry. Efforts to attracts tourists will come to nothing, Gamero argued, if tourists perceive negative messages regarding their presence.

Miquel Ensenyat, the president of the Council of Majorca, spoke about the need for tourism that is based on sustainable and environmental criteria and which, through its quality, generates greater financial well-being. Tourism, he added, has to be diversified and pointed to niches such as shopping, gastronomy and culture.

Ensenyat delivered the closing speech and paid tribute to the founder of the "Majorca Daily Bulletin", Pere A. Serra, who died recently and who had been awarded the tourist board's medal in 2013. Gamero also recognised Serra's career, his role in promoting cultural tourism and his support for the tourist board. Ultima Hora was one of six businesses that were awarded distinctions on Monday night.

There was a minute's silence for the victims of the Sant Llorenç floods. The board's gold medal was handed to German Daniel Thielk, who rescued Ursula Robinson Lliteres on 9 October. Her father, David Robinson, and Belis, the sister of Joana Lliteres, who died in the floods, joined Daniel on the stage.