The time has come to put the boot in. The fact that tourism will fall this year comes as no surprise. The tour firms were all quoted in this newspaper as saying that there would be a reduction in visitors this summer throughout the earlier part of this year. If the local government wanted fewer tourists, they have certainly got them. Now I am not blaming the Antich administration completely for Majorca's tourism woes, there have been other factors also. The hoteliers put up their prices and many other businesses in the tourist trade followed suit. Majorca is now an expensive destination for many. The tourist tax should have been postponed until things improved. Storm repair work should have been carried out months ago and not during the summer season. The list goes on. I started this column with the words the time has come to put the boot in. Yes, it has. Majorca is at fault at the moment and tourists are not happy. Let us hope that the reduction in visitors this summer will give the authorities time to reflect on their mistakes. Ten years of growth has made the industry rather complacent. Tourists are always going to come here, where else can they go? was the general opinion. Well unfortunately they are going elsewhere and resorts in Croatia, Turkey and Greece do have the necessary hotels and infrastructure. There is no conflict in the Balkans any more.
A whole series of factors have worked against Majorca and this summer will probably be one of the worst in recent history. If only people had listened. The tour firms have cried wolf before but this time, the wolf was at the door.
Cheap at the price
Very few people have to share their household accounts with anyone who wants to see them but that is the position that Queen Elizabeth has been put into by the pressure from various quarters that she should reveal how she spends the money provided to the monarchy by the state known as the Civil List.
In the past the monarch has given only a general statement about this expenditure once every ten years when its level was being reviewed. Now the Queen has undertaken to provide detailed information every year as part of the process of making the institution of Royalty more transparent. So we can see that expenditure on alcohol last year was only 97'000 pounds compared with 135'000 pounds in 2000. The total annual Civil List spend was 35.295 million pounds or 58p per person in the nation. For this pittance the British people got the full monty of constitutional duties, UK and overseas visits, honours ceremonies and the countless other activities that taken together provide what the report accompanying the accounts called, a focus for national identity, unity and pride.
Some nitpicking commentators have pointed out that the Dutch get their Royal family for 32p a year and the Irish their President for 34p. But no other monarchy has the range of duties to perform that fall to Queen Elizabeth and her family, some of the most expensive of which are accountable to the Commonwealth connection. The recent Jubilee celebrations have confirmed the popularity of the Queen. The British nation should be grateful that she costs it so little.
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