The Balearics is about to launch a £750.000 international advertising campaign to promote the region as a quality holiday destination. The Balearic Ministry for Tourism, the Spanish tourist board Turespaña and the Majorcan Chamber of Commerce unveiled the 200 million peseta (1.2 million euro) advertising blitz yesterday. The campaign will run for well in to April with the three target markets being the UK, France and Germany with the aim to convince people that the Balearics is a quality destination. Balearic Minister for Tourism, Celesti Alomar, said that by joining forces with the Chamber of Commerce and the Turespaña, which is providing 50 per cent of the funding, the region can mount a much more “intense” publicity campaign. The Secretary of State for Tourism, Juan José Güemes, travelled to Palma yesterday to preside over the signing of the deal and explained that September 11 and the economic down turn in some of the Balearics's key tourism markets means that “the situation is very complex.” The local authorities hope that the publicity campaign will also help to nudge sales in the stagnant package holiday market along. Juan José Güemes said that he is in regular contact with Europe's key tour operators to keep a check on the situation and push the Balearics; a group of German journalists are heading to the region over the next few weeks. The Secretary of State vowed to not let an opportunity to promote the Balearics and revive the holiday market slip by, adding that Turespaña is about to launch a promotional website for all of Spain's key destinations. But for all the campaigns to be successful Güemes said that while the Balearics and central government do not see eye-to-eye on the tax, the institutions involved in tourism must continue to work together and steps must be taken to avoid the tax hitting the headlines across Europe in order to prevent any further complications. The Secretary of State said that the debate must be kept strictly political. “It's difficult to gauge the repercussions the tax will have” he said “but the issue has caught international interest and has not helped the islands' image.” He called for an open debate on the tax. “We've all got to guarantee that 2002 is a satisfactory year for tourism in the Balearics because not only does business depend on it but so does the local economy.” Güemes stressed the complexity of the market pointing out that while tourism to Spain rose by three per cent last year and the global market by one per cent, in the Balearics tourism figures fell. “We've got to take the matter seriously and work intensely to make sure the Balearics remains a quality market leader.”

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