I had to smile to myself yesterday when I saw that shopkeepers now want to open all hours in Palma, on Sundays and on bank holidays. In the space of six months they have performed a spectacular U-turn and it has taken one of the worst recessions in living memory in Spain for them to see the errors of their ways. For more than a decade I have been calling on shopkeepers in this space to have more flexible opening hours. I was told by all that it was would never happen. Spain is different. Sunday opening is a Northern European tradition which will never work in Spain, I was told. But finally the Palma City Council saw the light and gave shopkeepers the right to open on Sundays. The result, a major increase in trade. Infact shop takings rose by eight percent during the first Sunday of opening. Restaurants saw their takings increase by 40 percent. The city council should be congratulated for forcing this change of heart. But have shopkeepers left it too late? Having shops open on public holidays and on Sundays during the winter is a risk, because there are only a handful of flights. Has Palma seen the light too late? The best way forward now is for the local authorities to inform the tour firms and airlines that the city is open for business on a Sunday and hopefully this will attract more weekend visitors. The only other low point is that Palma has some of the most expensive hotels in the country. What next ... cheaper hotels and Sunday openings; that would be something!
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