Today marked a first in my half a century of visiting Majorca. I sat down next to and chatted with a group of people who had come to our island ... just for the DAY!
When I was growing up in Yorkshire in the late 1960s and early 1970s, a day trip treat would be to head over to Scarbados (Scarborough to all your readers not familiar with God’s Own Country). I still have PTSD from the many hours we queued in traffic jams there and back on the A64, just to sample some fish and chips in the rain, roll up our trousers and dip our toes in a freezing North Sea.
But how times and tourism have changed. Low cost flights have opened up amazing opportunities. Now, a 46 euro round trip on a Saturday between London Stansted and Palma de Mallorca has rebooted the term "day tripper". It has given a new meaning to the words "flying visit" - and I, for one, am not sure if it is for the better.
The people I met had boarded a flight out of the UK at 6.40am. They were in Palma for 10am local time for a sun-kissed breakfast. By midday they were in the sun supping cava. By 2pm they were eating at "the best tapas bar in Europe" that TripAdvisor had recommended. A few beers later, and the first half of Barcelona v. Seville, they got ready for their flight back to Blighty.
And they were not alone. "Everyone does it," they revealed to me. "So much better and cheaper than going to London for a day out." What an experience. In a day.
It wasn’t that long ago that Majorca marketed itself for the long haul. Saga members came in winter for two months. Even now, Spanish "pensionistas" come for a few weeks. But it seems now that, in the fast food and instant world in which we live, even the long weekend is too much. Whether this new generation of day tripper is an opportunity or a threat for Majorca, who knows. But one thing is for sure, our island needs to understand - and react to - the fact that the times, as the cliche demands, they are a-changing.
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