The first of various cultural and historical tourist-tax funded tours of Palma starts today through the old seafaring parts of the capital. The City and the Sea tour, which Tourism and Education Ministers Celesti Alomar and Damia Pons presented and covered yesterday, is the first of many being developed as part of a culture and heritage tourist tax project for Palma. The two-hour tour, which provides an insight into the city's nautical past, the importance of the fishing sector and the influence it had on the capital's culture, will soon be sold by travel agents and conducted in Castellano, Catalan, English and German. The historical tour package will eventually include tours of Palma's palaces, the Jewish and Arab quarters, the city's modernist architecture, convents and the city's trading history. So far 150.000 of tourist tax money has been spent on the tours, but over the next few days, the Ministry for Tourism, will start purchasing some of the key buildings that have been set aside for development into cultural and exhibition centres. Tourism Minister Alomar said that just over four million euros are to be spent on the purchase of two important buildings, Can Serra, which will become home to a museum of decorative and traditional arts and the old quartermaster barracks which will be developed into an international exhibition centre. Alomar was keen to point out that the cultural and historical Palma project is not only to help visitors learn more about the city's culture and history, but residents as well. Education Minister Damia Pons, stressed the important role tourist tax money and projects can play in benefiting Balearic society - such as the Palma heritage project which was designed and approved back in December 2000. “In the Balearics thanks to tourist tax funding and initiatives, we can now promote its culture on an international scale without having to leave the region,” Pons said.

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