It is so sad to see so many aspects of life on the island have disappeared so quickly literally before our very eyes. I first came to the island at the beginning of tourism here so have known it well for many years and am really upset at some of the changes which have taken place recently.
Earlier this year I went into Palma and to the area of Calle San Miguel where I had not been for a couple of years or more and was so surprised to see just how many of the little traditional family businesses and shops have now disappeared and been replaced by very modern versions which look just like many shops in most cities in Europe. Of course, some are part of chains or franchises of International businesses, but everywhere is now beginning to look exactly the same.
All city centres in the U.K. to me are replicas of each other with the same stores, shops and eating places. If you go to one you have been to them all and the same is now happening here. Palma was somewhere very different to go and visit but now it is beginning to look like many other cities. What is the point of travelling anywhere, as when you get there it is virtually the same as the place you have come from.
If you travel to most of the Mediterranean coastal areas be it in Greece, Cyprus, Turkey, Spain, Portugal, they are all beginning to look exactly the same especially the resort areas. The only difference is the local language and the local cuisine but all now offer the same international food.
I despair at the modernisation and changes made in many of the coastal resort areas, Sant Elm used to be a quaint quiet place to visit now it has a pedestrianised central street and developments of new apartment blocks just like elsewhere. Port Soller too, now has a promenade with large car parking areas where once there used to be the wonderful fish restaurant above the shelters for the fishermen where they used to mend and dry their nets along the quayside. All the character of Port Soller has now been taken away and apart from the wooden tram it too is beginning to look like other places on the coast.
Cala Bona has been modernised this winter, but I prefer it as it was before way back in the 60*s not as it is now. I could go on and on quoting other examples.
Majorca is a fantastic place and it has a long and interesting history, a rich culture and needs to be protected by all of us from these awful changes which I feel is losing us potential visitors.
The winter season is now just about dead. For the very few who do still come they find very little open, prices relatively high, no atmosphere anywhere and a lack of the many, very attractive places which once existed, why should they come back?
Other shores beckon; for the same cost or little more they can venture further afield and find and explore a different culture, new places of interest, open and welcoming arms and friendly people and once there their spending power is much greater than it now is here.
Of course, the big Tour Operators are going to cash in on these new markets and have switched their aircraft from flying to Palma in the winter months to these more new and exciting destinations. The world is becoming a smaller place rapidly and further globalisation will change it even faster.
For us who live here on the island, we are suffering years of hard work now being rewarded with, if lucky, six months work and struggling through the winter months until summer starts again and each one seems worse than the one before. As you so rightly say in Tuesday 19th September's Viewpoint, a rather sad state of affairs! Let us only hope that Maria Antonia Munar and other like-minded people can reverse the situation before it is too late! Ann Simmons, by e-mail
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