The foundation stone was laid yesterday for the Balearics' new Tourism Investigation and Technology Centre (CITTIB). The 2.14 million euro, 2.000 square metre development will be erected at the Parc Bit technology park and will be completed within the next 12 months. The Balearic Ministers for Tourism and Innovation, Celesti Alomar and Príam Villalonga attended the ceremony along with president Francesc Antich. Alomar and Villalonga said that the new centre will be the key to “diversifying the tourist industry while taking it forward.” Antich admitted that, as a region, the Balearics spends little on technological investigation and development in comparison to the rest of Spain, but he said that the region is going to make a concerted effort to “develop a model for sustainable growth of the tourist industry,” which Antich said is somewhat lacking at the moment. Alomar said that the Balearics has got to be more aware and more adventurous with the tourist industry, modernise, develop new technologies and cement its position as a global market leader. He described yesterday's ceremony as “an important step forward towards the future.” The centre will employ 16 investigators working in a variety of fields, while the building will also include conference and educational facilities. With the CITTIB symbolising the dawn of a new era for the Balearic tourist industry, Antich was adamant that the tourist tax, which he sees as key to the future of tourism in the Balearics, will go ahead as planned regardless of appeals being lodged by the local hotel sector. “Nothing has changed at all,” he said. “The Balearic government will continue doing its work, introducing the tourist tax on May 1 while simultaneously working on the projects which will be funded by the money raised,” Antich said. “All the projects are very important if we are to change the Balearic model for tourism and meet the demands of the general public,” the president said. “Businesses and private associations have their rights and the government has an obligation to carry out its parliamentary mandate,” Alomar added.

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