Julia Simpson at our offices in Palma where she explained how her career had started at the Bulletin. | Morey

I have a new claim to fame; a former colleague of mine was one of the chief advisers to former Prime Minister Tony Blair at Number 10. I made this discovery by chance this week. Julia Simpson, President of the prestigious World Travel & Tourism Council, was attending a major conference in Palma. She let slip that her first job after university was working for the Bulletin. Hours later she was back in the Bulletin offices, now in the Paseo de Mallorca not in the Calle San Felio, where she once worked. Julia, whose career has taken her to Number 10 Downing Street and the Board of Directors of British Airways/Iberia, was only too happy to talk about her time at the Bulletin.

jmr110923001 (72).jpg

“It was great fun. I used to start my working day with coffee and ensaimada at the Bar Martin (this was a home-from-home bar for Bulletin staff when we were based in San Felio). Then I would translate news articles which I thought would interest British readers. It was fun.” Julia worked under former Bulletin editor Andrew Valente and news editor, the late Irene Taylor. “I also remember Don Pedro Serra and Doña Margarita Magraner (the founders of the Bulletin), everyone was very nice,” she said. It was hard work and you could see why Julia has been so successful. When she finished at the Bulletin at lunchtime, it was down to Puerto Andratx by bus to sell superyachts for a large yachting company. All this in the 1980s when the transport network was not as good as it is today. “I have fond memories of those days,” she said, indicating that her love for Mallorca started back then.

Prior to joining the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) in August 2021, Julia spent 14 years in the aviation sector on the Board of British Airways and Iberia and as Chief of Staff at International Airlines Group.

Before joining British Airways, Julia was senior adviser to Prime Minister Tony Blair. She held a number of key positions in the UK government and public sector, including Director at the Home Office and Department for Education and Employment; Assistant Chief Executive at the London Borough of Camden; and head of communications at the Communication Workers Union.

jmr110923001 (71).jpg

She said that Tony Blair was a great person to work for, he was on first name terms with everyone at Number 10. This was not a political appointment; she was a civil servant. She then moved to British Airways and worked side-by-side with Chief Executive Willie Walsh, who is another great fan of Mallorca. Julia joined the World Travel & Tourism Council two years ago as President. The WTTC is a forum for the travel and tourism industry. It is made up of members from the global business community and works with governments to raise awareness about the travel and tourism industry. It is known for being the only forum to represent the private sector in all parts of the industry worldwide. Its activities include research on the economic and social impact of the industry and its organisation of global and regional summits focuses on issues and developments relevant to the industry.

This week she returned to Mallorca for a series of conferences and lectures. She has high praise for the Mallorca tourism industry. “I would say that Spain and Mallorca offer the best service in the world,” she said, adding that in some cases Mallorca-founded hotel chains were leading the world and heaped praise on the island as a tourist destination.

Tourism continues to grow in importance employing millions across the globe. She is a big believer in the private sector working hand-in-hand with governments to resolve problems within the industry. “The industry has grown over the last nine years and our present indications say that it will continue to do so.”

jmr110923001 (78).jpg

When asked about calls for fewer tourists in places such as Mallorca because of overcrowding in the summer months, she said that tourist visits shouldn’t just take place in a few key months but throughout the year. “A hotel is a very expensive item. It is no good if it is closed for six months of the year.” The President of this world tourism body said that tourists were now looking for experiences such as local events and markets and even shopping and food.

Julia gave a warning about taxes. She said that even though in most cases they were relatively low they soon added up. As regards so-called environmental taxes, which are now becoming ever more popular in holiday destinations, she said that the money should be spent on eco-projects and easing the carbon footprint left by tourism and not on unrelated projects. She said that the single European airspace, once it is finally introduced by the European Union, should reduce pollution levels.

After the interview Julia left the Bulletin offices and headed up into the Mallorcan mountains, which she loves, for lunch. It is amazing to think that she now occupies a job which is so close to her beloved Mallorca. it is also amazing how her career has taken her from small offices in the Calle San Felio to the heart of the British government.