The Balearic Ministry for Tourism was given some good news yesterday on an unexpected front....their controversial tourist tax has been shortlisted for a prestigious award from the British Guild of Travel Writers. The announcement came yesterday just hours after the central government in Madrid blamed the tax for the slump in tourism to the Balearics this summer. What will please Balearic Minister for Tourism, Celesti Alomar, even more is that the award is not usually given to a whole region, usually just to a theme park or nature reserve. Last year's winner was the hugely successful Eden project in Cornwall. If successful, the Balearics will be presented with the award at the World Travel Market in London this November. A British travel industry source said yesterday “this is a major coup for the Balearics as the Globe Award (which the tourist tax has been nominated for) is one of the most prestigious in the industry.” The Guild of Travel Writers maintain that the tourist tax is a great example of tourism development. They claim that the tax should be supported. Presently, the Balearic government is involved in a war of words with local hoteliers and other members of the tourist industry over the levy which has still not been given the green light by a Madrid court. Hoteliers are refusing to hand-over any money until the court rules on whether the tax is illegal or not. However, the Balearic government believes that the judiciary will back them. The Guild of Writers said that the tourist tax would help transform the Balearics with the money being used to rectify many faults. Balearic Minister for Tourism Celesti Alomar has said that it will make the Balearics a better place for tourists and residents alike. The central government and the hoteliers federation claim that there was no need for the tax in the first place because the money would have been forthcoming from Madrid but the local authorities never asked. The opposition Partido Popular has said that they will scrap it if they are elected next summer. The Balearics will be sending a large delegation to the World Travel Market and the nomination is an added boost. The local delegation will be hoping to hear that bookings to the Balearics have increased in Britain. It is expected to be led by the leader of the government Francesc Antich.

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