Last month, 1.5 million foreign visitors came to the Balearics, making the region the second most popular Spanish tourist destination. But, according to the Secretary of State for Commerce and Tourism, Juan Costa, the 1.5 million visitors still represented a drop of ten per cent in comparison to July 2001. Overall, during the first six months of this year, 5.4 million holidaymakers chose the Balearics, 9.2 per cent fewer than 2001. Nevertheless, last month, 23 per cent of all visitors to Spain came to the Balearics - only Cataluña proved more popular. Costa also revealed that the dominant market in Spain this year is the United Kingdom. One in four visitors to Spain are from the UK with just over a 25 per cent share of the market while the German market has shrunk to 17.5 per cent, down nearly ten per cent nationally and as much as 25 per cent in the Balearics. The ministries for tourism in the Canaries and Andalucia spend nearly five times as much on advertising and overseas promotions each year than the Balearics. The President of the Majorcan Tourist Board, Miquel Vicens, yesterday urged the Balearic government to start spending some serious money and make a much greater effort to promote the Balearics in view of the drop in tourism this year. Vicens claimed that the Balearic government spends six million euros a year on promotion, while the Canaries and Andalucia spend nearly five times as much. He said the biggest failure of the government has been the lack of effort and funding channelled into promoting the Balearics, “especially when back in December, we knew this was going to be a difficult year.” Vicens added the emphasis should have been on overseas promotions, “not useless advertising billboards in the Balearics which is pure electioneering.” “There is a clear consensus within the tourist board - which brings together the airlines, hoteliers, transport companies, the car hire sector, restaurants etc that this government has made a serious mistake in its policies to attract clients,” Vicens said, urging the government to make a 180º u-turn, and for that we would applaud them,” he said.

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