Memories come in all shapes and sizes and this festive season will be remembered. For some it was the travel to get here or leave. For others it was the full blown Covid experience and the immunity it has brought for a few months. For the latter group, now they are over the worst, they feel liberated. The illness came , did its worst and left. The tests all prove negative now and they are free to go for next six months with immunity intact. Yes, I know you are going to tell me, that until the world is vaccinated, more new variants will pop up to make us ill again. I choose to believe this means they will be weaker and not so virulent.
Carrying on the party
Most UK friends have left us to go back to work, or more likely, work from home. Meanwhile in Mallorca we look forward to carrying on the party for another few days. The Kings will happen by tomorrow and bring fine presents for the local children. The sun has meant we have had many trippers who have driven here for a walk or to enjoy lunch. The Town Hall has been under some criticism that little seems open or available from Museums to the Train and currently the Tram. It all makes a mockery of the declared intention to be a 12 month tourist destination.
My own visit to Fornalutx on New Year’s Eve was like a ghost town. Not one café open in the square yet many walkers and cyclists around looking for a snack and a sit down. As a business model this is very difficult, but someone has to take decisions or stop pretending to be what they are not. Where are the local politicians when you need them?
A little bit of normal news is filtering through now that the ‘season to be jolly’ is moving on. Solar Panel installation is being discussed and the pressure is on with many applications on the Mayors desk. Seems to be a problem in Soller about getting the grants enjoyed by other towns for the installation. ‘Computer says no’ is the reason given so far. I would imagine there will be a lot more said about in the subject in the political meetings of January.
The housing issue
Deya Town Hall are working hard on rental subsidies for local people. A ‘normal’ price rental in Deya is like getting hold of hens teeth. To stop the village becoming full of the ‘part time rich’, decisions have to be made. It will be interesting to watch the progress on this one as it could have implications for Soller and Fornalutx.
The statistics are beginning to arrive and make interesting reading. The National Statistics Institute (INE) points out that the Soller Valley has a total of 3,594 places for holiday rentals, compared to the 3,515 currently available in all hotels registered in the municipality. According to data provided by the INE, in Sóller there are a total of 654 homes dedicated to tourist rental, the majority in the Puerto Soller. These figures take rentals over hotel places for the first time and this is causing much chatter and consternation.
The housing issue for local people and the amount of money they have the possibility to earn will just not go away. Some of this will be addressed this year as some workers will find themselves in high demand and be able to negotiate a livable wage. Lots of workers contemplating leaving local jobs this year as better wages are around the corner with other employers. Pay is one thing, but conditions are another as there are still those who are required to work a six-day week and be on call during their time off.
The levelling up of terms and conditions and the inspections needed to make sure these are enforced are being sorted as we speak. All eyes are on the government and the large employers of Mallorca to set the fair conditions and wages for all for the 2022 season.
The final ‘Hurrah’
Meanwhile it is back to the celebrations and the final ‘hurrah’ of the Christmas and New Year season. Next week the new stories will be pouring in again…