During the meetings in Playa de Palma on Thursday. | Miquel À. Cañellas

King Felipe and Queen Letizia heard on Thursday about the difficult situation facing tourism in the Balearics. During meetings with business and union representatives, emphases were placed on the need for measures to reactivate tourism and for an extension to ERTE.

Carmen Planas, president of the CAEB Confederation of Balearic Business Associations, thanked the King and Queen for their visit to find out about the effects of the crisis on tourism and the wider economy, which is facing recession. Planas explained that the tourism pilot plan had been important for encouraging German tourists and for giving visitors confidence. When choosing a destination, she noted, it is very important to know that places like the Balearics have first-rate public and private healthcare.

The CAEB president believed that the visit will assist in generating further confidence, a point echoed by the president of the Majorca Hoteliers Federation, Maria Frontera. The King and Queen's interest is of importance in restarting tourism, which at present is slow and is therefore having an influence on decisions to open hotels and restaurants.

The general secretary of the UGT union in the Balearics, Alejandro Texias, was grateful for the royal couple's support and stressed to them the need for ERTE to be extended until the end of December. All representatives were unanimous in conveying this necessity. Francesc Mellado of the CCOO union highlighted the interest that the King and Queen had shown in the problems in the Balearics. He referred to reports which suggest that poverty and inequality may increase in the Balearics more than in other regions.