Dear Sir, In his comment in viewpoint of 29/01/2009 “The Changing Face of Tourism” our editor asks what will happen to resorts which were once almost 100 percent British. They face the partial pull out of UK tour companies reacting to the credit crunch and the fall in value of the pound. His answer is only 8 kilometres from his office – Ca'n Pastilla. But he doesn't need to come to Ca'n Pastilla I'll bring Can Pastilla to him.

From chilly Britain Majorca is one of the shortest flights to Mediterranean sunshine. On Majorca the closest beach to the airport is the Playa de Palma and on this long beach the closest village Ca'n Pastilla. Hardly rocket science therefore to work out how it became the first to be developed on the island. Build up then switched to the other end of the beach at Arenal then filled in the gap which become a mini Munich even celebrated in film in Germany's equivalent of “The Full Monty” - “ Ballaman 6”. Along the whole of the Playa de Palma there were only 11 hotels in 1960 when mass tourism was about to start. By its peak in 1989 (yes we peaked here 30 years ago) we had 114 hotels not to mention 55 hostels. At this time the village was almost completely British with 50 hotels or hostels and literally a UK pub for each. There were also 6 discos, a night club featuring Flamenco and a Mock Bullring. As tour companies expanded and the resort became dated the drop in business has been evident for some time as bars and hotels have closed. Armed with my hardy 1986 Hotel guide, I knew it would be usefull eventually, I decided to save Jason the journey and did the grand archaeological tour myself hence the delay in replying.

The last hotel to be constructed was in 1991 (Fontanelles 177 rooms) but since we have lost 11of our former 50. They were mostly small but amounted to some 700 rooms a loss of 11%. In compensation we have 2 retirement homes, 2 social centres the rest apartments. The bar situation is much graver. Half of the pubs were situated in one street. Calle Virgilio was our equivalent to Rose Street in Edinburgh which was the target of every student to complete a pub crawl. If you wanted to be even closer to your area of Britain you could elect the Cardiff Arms, Shamrock, Mersey or Scotch Corner and walk home eating Fish & Chips from Friar Tucks. Now the street is down to 18 bars of which 12 are British assuming they all open in the summer. One disco is left. The night club is a car park. The Mock Bullring is a block of flats but at least we now have the Aquarium and Wetlands formerly known locally as mosquito swamp.

The situation in Arenal is worse. We have already been through a recession so to rework a Gordon Brownism “Ca'n Pastilla is better placed than most to withstand the tourist turbulence”. Unlike the PMs ebullience I feel there is little the Magallufs of the island can do to avoid the downturn. We could have delayed it if the proposed renovation of the Playa de Palma had been broached 20 years ago when the cracks were plain to see. Here are some quotes from to show how this once swinging spot is seen now “English in the minority – mainly French, Spanish & German, which gives a very continental feel”, “A very quiet & relaxed resort with no real entertainment on offer. Well suited to older couples”. I regret the change for the bar and hotel owners but I appreciate the village's resurrection as a more cosmopolitan but basically sleepy Spanish resort. Financially we were all damaged by the complete abandonment of the 18-30s but I appreciated a full night's sleep without a call from my long suffering neighbours.

Mike Lillico. Playa de Palma