Having been a visitor to Majorca for over 17 years I feel qualified to say that the new Palma airport must be one of the most negative aspects of our recent visits to Majorca. It is a modern airport with its roots in the 1960*s and certainly no improvement on the old facility.
Signage and announcements are poor to nonexistent and the single most frustrating aspect on departure is to arrive early for departure to find either desks not open at all or one languid clerk manning a single desk whilst queues and tempers mount - this is the only international airport where I have met such indifference to passenger needs.
Schipol airport in Amsterdam is a role model to follow and I remember Delhi as being more aware of passenger needs. Tourism chiefs should listen to the complaints in the long queues as families struggle with tiredness, luggage and bored children. Most tourists have enjoyed their stay in Majorca and leave with this last poor impression of indifference and, the whole situation is not improved by the ridiculous hike to the departure gates.
I've heard many people with young children, disabled and elderly people leave - swearing never to return after that long walk. The long queues must also impact on businesses - as people waiting in long pointless queues can't spend money in the airport shops, something I'm sure that is not lost on the local retailers. In short discerning tourists which I understand the Balearic Tourist Board want to encourage, are far more demanding today and will not put up any longer with being treated like cattle by thoughtless authorities.
They can and in fact are opting for softer alternatives. Majorca is no longer a cheap holiday, (my family spend literally thousands of £*s each year), and there are many countries competing and winning the tourism battle.
We enjoy Majorca and have again booked our holiday for this year - but how about some pleasant surprises at the airport?
Open letter to Antich from the tour operators
We are extremely concerned at the reports that you are shortly planning to introduce the ecotax. The timing is particularly inappropriate but we also foresee significant practical difficulties.
Irrespective of any increased taxation there will be a significant reduction in arrivals for 2002 as a result of economic conditions and September 11. The exact amount of the reduction is difficult to forecast but, for example, if it is 10% this figure would increase to around 15% if the ecotax is introduced. As each tourist spends 400 to 500 euros the resultant loss of revenue would equate to 1000 euros for each resident of the Islands, of which one third is attributable to the ecotax. These estimates could be conservative because the current lack of bookings is concentrated amongst families which is an important part of your market.
As we explained during our meeting last September, tour operators are unable to increase the prices they charge during the currency of brochures. Therefore, we are legally unable to collect this tax until new brochures are printed later this year.
We understand that the Constitutional Court has decided that there is a case to be answered on the legality of this tax, therefore arrangements must be put in place to allow for repayment to consumers if necessary. Tour operators do not have access to the names and addresses of their customers, this is retained by travel agents. Therefore, we cannot participate in the collection process for legal and practical reasons. Additionally, we suggest that consideration should be given to the practical and cost implications of making these repayments to a range of foreign countries.
In summary, we strongly urge you to reconsider this decision and, as a minimum, delay implementation until legal, financial and practical difficulties have been resolved. Whatever final decision is made, could you please ensure that I am informed. This will enable me to notify tour operators so that they can, if necessary, undertake their legal obligation to inform customers of unavoidable costs.
IFTO: the International Federation of Tour Operators represent tour operator associations from 17 different countries and the interests of over 50 million holidaymakers every year.
I reckon the Phone company Telefonica are making a tidy profit from their pay phones as they accept the Euro coins but if you do not make a connection they do not return your coins.