“We need to make tourists feel welcome again” says President of Insular Council

President of the Insular Council of Majorca, Maria Antonia Munar, suggested yesterday that perhaps the Insular Council should be given more responsibilities in the areas of tourism and the economy, such as promoting the region's tourist industry. Munar, opening the first debate on the general political scene in Majorca yesterday, said, bearing in mind that tourism accounts for 80 per cent of the regional economy “we need to recuperate the empathy with tourists. “We need to step up the promotion of quality products and services which will attract bigger spending clients such as creating more golf courses and the expansion of certain marinas” in order to move away from the sun and beach tourism model. With regards to the future of the Balearics, Munar proclaimed that the Insular Council “is the island's most legitimate and efficient institution” and praised the work of the coalition government, of which the Majorcan Union party, over which she also presides, is an important and influential member. Munar touched on many of the burning issues in the Balearics in her speech, in particular the agricultural sector which, at the opposite end of the economic scale to tourism, accounts for just one per cent of the region's Gross National product. She warned that, in its present condition, the sector “can not last much longer.” She called for income assurances and measures to attract young people into the agricultural sector. “We don't want to be anybody's gardeners, we want to be growers and producers of products we need,” she said. However, in order to push ahead with many of the Insular Council's plans, Munar is a strong believer that the Balearics is being short-changed by Madrid and repeated her calls for a great return on taxes paid into central government coffers. Each year, the Balearics pays over 2.000 million euros to Madrid, with little return. “What's more, much of our money is then used by Madrid to help other regions in becoming future competitors to the Balearics, Munar said. With regards to the future, Munar unveiled plans to substantially increase Insular Council investment in road improvements, better care, attention and services for the elderly, to reach a unanimous decision over a definite set of planning laws in the Balearics and create an emergency plan should the Balearics fall victim to a disaster similar to the oil spill the north of Spain is having to presently battle. In the meantime, Munar said that the Insular Council intends to address the island's growing waste problem, resolve the social problems facing immigrants, adding “everyone who lives in Majorca is Majorcan..,” and make sure tourists and visitors to Majorca feel welcome again.

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