Tourist tax wins top award and minister thanks Britain for its supportThe World Travel Market tourism fair opened in London yesterday with celebrations at the Balearic stand where the British Guild of Travel Writers 2002 Globe Award was pride of place. The Globe Award is an award for sustainable tourism projects and this year the Balearics' controversial ecotax or tourist tax was voted by the Guild to be the most innovative and effective project in the world. The Globe Award was presented to the Balearics at Sunday night's award ceremony at the Savoy Hotel but at the Balearics stand yesterday morning the Globe Award was never far from the grasp of Balearic Tourism Minister Celesti Alomar who after a near threeyear battle over the tax, has received one of the highest awards for his project from the UK's top travel writers. Talking to the British travel press yesterday he thanked British tourists for helping the Balearics win the award. Britain is our Number One client, our biggest market and you've all played a small but important role in helping the Balearics win this award, he said. Director of the Balearic Institute for Tourism Promotion, Tiffany Blackman said it gives me great joy to announce this award which has made all our hard work on this project worthwhile. Yesterday, was also a landmark event for the Balearics in the UK as it was the first time the islands' new corporate image has been presented to the British market. Independent British travellers to the Balearics have risen by 40 per cent this year and yesterday's presentation of the new corporate image tied in well with the launch of new Balearic holiday products in the UK. A whole new range of brochures in English have been published to coincide with the new holiday activity symbols, walking, cycling, culture, the biosphere reserve in Formentera etc. all part of the Balearics new quality model for tourism. A new business and convention package was also unveiled in London yesterday. What is more the Balearic Ministry for Tourism confirmed that it is locked in talks and is working closely with a number of British travel agents and tour operators to promote the new tourism products. A new website has also been launched www.balearesleisurevisit.com specificially for British holidaymakers who want to travel to the Balearics and who want to learn more about what is on offer before they travel. The website also includes a direct link to a hotel reservation service so clients will be able to book their active Balearics holidays on line. Tiffany Blackman said that the English language brochures unveiled this year are not for commercialisation but for information and from January 1, all visitors arriving in the Balearics will also receive information leaflets about the tourist tax and the projects planned. She also said that another novelty is that all of the cultural information about the islands has been collated together in one single publication providing information about where to go, what to see, events, concerts, festivals and fiestas etc. Blackman explained that the tourist tax and all the new tourism products are part of the Balearics' new corporate image. Tourism Minister Alomar said of the Globe award this prize is in recognition of the hard work that I, and my team have undertaken over a very long time, but more importantly it is recognition of the work we have undertaken to achieve a new tourism model based on sustainability which respects the people and the culture of the Balearics. For us, that is the main point of the tourist tax and that is how we've understood it right from the very start. It is the key to a new concept of tourism for the future, he said. Alomar said that this year, concrete projects have already been started with tourist tax funding, the new activity brands have been launched along with the new cultural tourism market. As far as the Balearics is concerned, we are working towards offering a different type of tourism, more service and customer attention and also providing British tourists with more varied and diverse products. Britain is our number one client, more Britons than any other single nationality come to the Balearics and we hope, and intend to make sure, that this continues to be so, said the Minister. Asked if the tourist tax has affected the British market, Alomar said no. The tax never attracted the media attention it did in Germany which was fuelled by certain tour operators, he said. One euro is equivalent, at maximum, to a one per cent increase in the cost of a package holiday, it is hardly noticeable and it has not stopped British visitors from coming to the Balearics which is great news. Thank you Britain.
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