The Balearic government yesterday launched a campaign to prevent tourists from being ripped off while on holiday. The primary targets of the government offensive are illegal excursions, ticket touts and street traders. 5'000 posters have been printed in five different languages and will be displayed in airports, tourism offices, councils and the main tourist attractions. The government believes that the new campaign, coupled with an army of inspectors and the co-operation of the public, will all help to protect tourists and consumers. Balearic Minister for Commerce, Pere Sampol, said yesterday that inspections are being carried out on everything from coaches to travel agents and brochures in a bid to locate and stamp out illegal trading. Sampol said that the new Balearic Commerce Law prohibits any form of unauthorised street trading in tourist establishments. The Minister said that tourists, especially pensioners, have to be careful not to fall for free or moderately priced excursions because these kinds of trips more often than not, culminate in an illegal store where the elderly fall into the trap of making large purchases. But the warnings also apply to certain time share operations which offer free presents and attractive incentives. Sampol called on the tourist industry as a whole to make sure that none of its services provided to holidaymakers involve any form of fraudulent and illegal activities. The penalties are heavy, last year fines totalling 16.828 euros were handed out and 17 out of 96 coaches inspected were taken off the roads.

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