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DEAR SIR

I have been following the correspondence regarding the drop in holidaymakers to Majorca this year and feel that there is much to be done to encourage people back to the island.

Does anyone in the Spanish Ministry for Tourism or in local government on the island read this paper? If not I believe they should so that they can hear what British tourists are saying and perhaps take some note. Tourism takes many forms and it is perhaps a backward step to attempt to push package holidays to hotels at the expense of other types of holiday. Yet one wants to see hotels open for at least six months in order that unemployment benefits can be paid during the winter but is the government receiving sufficient income from these hotels in order to provide this benefit? Would it not be better to diversify the holidays and extend the season as has been suggested with various themed breaks in hotels as well as encouraging the independent traveller who may wish to walk or birdwatch and explore different places and restaurants as they go?

One cannot obtain a licence for holiday letting. I myself would dearly love to live in Majorca and provide countryside casita accommodation that would be let all year round. The property I have in mind would be environmentally friendly with home-grown produce but for shopping it would be within walking distance of a very Majorcan village where there is a market, shops and restaurants. This would save on the use of cars all the time and as it is in the foothills of the Tramuntana could be promoted to walkers, horse riders and nature lovers as well as to summer visitors. As was pointed out, many of the British have grown up and are more sophisticated since the years of package holiday visits and many desire independence, culture, quiet countryside, good food and fine wine, and the options of different activities. Majorca is the perfect location for all these and much more. The government should be aware that licensing holiday letting as above, if properly regulated and taxed, can only be of benefit to local communities right across the island and to the government itself. I feel it is time that this option should be treated as a legitimate business with all that goes with that. To me it seems like a win, win situation. Lastly of course there is the problem that the British have seen a 20 percent drop in their disposable income whilst in any Euro country and this has not helped (if only we had the Euro not the £), but given the bad summer weather we have had here this year I think many will tighten their belts and be determined to return to Majorca next year and I shall be joining them.

Yours, Philippa Coates, Cambridge, England