Spain's tourism minister Reyes Maroto, with former Spanish prime minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, President Armengol and Iago Negueruela in Palma. | Jaume Morey

In Palma on Thursday, Spain's tourism minister, Reyes Maroto, stressed the importance of generating "confidence" and "certainty" among tourists for the coming season. This is because Spain and the Balearic Islands are geographically "far from the conflict" in Ukraine. Security, she observed, is a key message for tourists - national and foreign - considering taking holidays in the Balearics or other Spanish destinations.

The minister said that the government is greatly concerned about the war and the tragedy that it entails for millions of people. At the same time, however, it is necessary to stress the safety of the Balearics and Spain and to influence the "mood" of people who are wanting to travel.

Maroto observed that the Balearics led the recovery in foreign tourism in 2021 and that the islands are "a destination open to the world" with millions of visitors from outside Spain.

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A month into the war, the minister, emphasising how desperate it is for so many people, said that it was also affecting the tourism industry, creating uncertainty among tourists, businesses and employees.

Among problems for the industry, she noted, is the increase in the price of energy. In this regard, Maroto was hopeful that the European Union will adopt a solution to lower the price and act in a coordinated manner as it did with mass vaccination and the development of the Covid passport.

The minister welcomed the Wednesday announcement by Spain's first deputy prime minister, Nadia Calviño, of the plan to mitigate the consequences of the war. This will include a new line of credit guarantees and the extension to the maturity of current loans. This, she said, is a "very important measure" for tourism businesses in the Balearics.