Ever wondered what the island was like before the advent of mass tourism? The new exhibition at the Fundació La Caixa, which opens tomorrow evening, will give visitors a good idea. Called Welcome, it celebrates a century of tourism in the islands. And the setting could hardly be better, because the Fundació*s headquarters is what used to be the Gran Hotel, built in 1903 and one of the first and most emblematic hotels in Palma. In presenting the exhibition yesterday, Francisco Conrado, La Caixa's representative in the Balearics, said that it was “a reference point to analyse future prospects.” It is divided into three parts. The first, called Belle Epoque covers the period 1900 to 1930, showing the atmosphere at the start of the century and the introduction of progress and modernity to the islands. The second part covers the tourism boom of the Sixties, with the first promotional campaign launched by the tourism board, and the changes to everyday life brought about by the impact of millions of visitors. The exhibition ends in the Eighties and Nineties with the new airport and the emphasis on sustainable development and quality. Conrado spoke of the pioneers of tourism and their romanticism in wanting “to show the civilised world the wonders hidden in islands which were very little known and not exploited.” The exhibition includes copies of the Bulletin, documents, paintings, objects and excerpts from films, changes in fashions, songs and interactive displays.

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