Head of the Majorca Tourism Board Pedro Iriondo has issued an apology after criticising low cost airlines for not bringing “quality” tourists to the island, according to reports in the Spanish press.

Iriondo, who is the head of Fomento del Turismo, a private body representing hotels and other businesses, said no-frills airlines only bring British tourists who stay in unregulated properties owned by fellow Brits.

He also criticised budget airlines for not bringing business clients to the island. Iriono then attacked tourism workers from overseas, accusing them of not being able to truly “sell” Majorca.

Speaking at a forum organised by the university’s tourism department in Palma, he said: “In times past, the waiters and all the people working in the tourism sector were from Majorca. How can South Americans and Africas sell Majorca?”

He added that the image of Playa de Palma is one of card-tricksters, Romanians, prostitutes and “masseurs”.

Iriondo’s comments have caused ructions in the Spanish press and prompted calls for his resignation. Francesc Antich, president of the Balearic government, has said Iriondo was “not the most suitable person” to front the tourism organisation.

However, Iriondo has since apologised for his outburst and the board of Fomento voted yesterday for him to remain in his role.