Dear Sir,
I see that for the first time in over two years, the wonderful Balearic Tourist Board under the futuristic leadership of “Crisis, what crisis?” Alomar will concentrate their efforts at forthcoming fairs on promoting the Balearics instead of using the occasions as a platform for inflammatory political speeches extolling the virtues of the infamous Tourist Tax.

Having damaged the islands' principal industry by insisting on explaining why a tax that did not exist would be levied on those who this government insist pollute the islands, namely tourists, this change of attitude at tourist fairs must be considered a step in the right direction.

This being so, I have little doubt that the Minister for Tourism will have no difficulty in explaining why copious details regarding said tax are plastered all over the Ibatur web site including delicious quotes as “those who pollute must pay.” Perhaps such a dynamic forward thinking director such as Sr. Alomar, the man with his fingers firmly on the pulse of Balearic tourism, is not aware of the continuing damage his entourage are doing to the source of our islands' major income or that this simple fact seems to contradict his latest statement (Daily Bulletin 29/1/02)

Puzzling isn't it?

A. King. Palmanova

Property investors beware of Tony Blair

Dear Sir,
I read your article with interest, but wonder whether, when writing about the housing market, you did not miss an important point.
Yes, the exchange rate is favourable at the moment, but although the indications are that Tony Blair would like to enter the euro zone, to do so at this high level in the value of the Pound would cause many problems in the long term for British exporters.

Could it be that those Brits with capital to spare have thought about this, and have decided that property in the Balearics would make a good investment in the short term, to be offloaded when dear Tony has forced the value of the Pound down.

They should be careful, because many of those Euro zone nationals who were holding black money have already purchased property before E-Day, and many possibly are only sitting on those properties until sufficient time has passed for them to also offload them, and in doing so, cause house values to fall from the astronomically high level currently being asked.

Score 15 all!!

Geoff Rose. (by e-mail)

A clear strategy

The major European tour operators are calling on the Spanish tourist industry not to increase their prices because there is a danger that they could price themselves out of the market. This warning came from First Choice and the TUI/Thomson Group, Europe's biggest tour company. I don't know about the rest of Spain but it is getting to a point that the Balearics can no longer accommodate the millions of holidaymakers who come here every year. Seven million tourists are becoming a real drain on the limited resources that the islands have and perhaps the time has come to take a closer look at the industry. There is a growing sentiment these days for the need to protect the environment and spend more funds on conserving the limited “green areas”. If the Balearics wants less tourists but ones with greater spending power, then they have to go back to square one. A large number of hotels employing hundreds of people will be surplus to requirements. The massive airport, which cost many thousands of millions of pesetas, is also unnecessary. At the moment hoteliers are increasing their prices but there is no clear strategy. Basically, they want the same number of tourists who will be paying more. A fantastic state of affairs but unfortunately the travel industry is very price orientated.

Higher prices less tourists is the equation which governs the tourist industry. What Spain needs is to decide the profile of the tourist it wants. At the moment all sections of the industry are at odds which leads to a confused state of affairs and will damage the wellbeing of one of Spain's leading industries.

Jason Moore.

A dash of codswallop

The view from the churchyard in Deia on Sunday was breathtaking and I can understand why the couple had chosen the church there for their marriage ceremony.

The Roman Catholic Church on Majorca is very hospitable to the Anglican Church. Such kindness is not new, for years we have enjoyed the use of the beautiful church in Cala d'Or for our service on the third Thursday of each month. In every Church it is a compulsory mark of good churchmanship to profess, in public, sincere and wholehearted attachment to the principles of church unity. Yet in England where I was working previously there is a real weariness about church unity. In many places the traditional Week of Prayer for Christian Unity goes largely disregarded. The great gatherings of Christians from the various denominations in one another's churches are a thing of the past. They are either very poorly attended or have been abandoned altogether. Yet if God and man have really been working shoulder to shoulder to build a united church - not a uniform one but a sacramental image of the unity of the human race - would so little have been achieved for so much time and effort?

Twice in recent years the Church of England has led our friends in the Methodist Church to the altar and at the last minute ditched them there. Even now they are gracious enough to have the patience and hope to explore once again the possibility of unity with us. In fact at a recent meeting of the Church of England's General Synod the tearoom was fuller than the debating chamber when a unity scheme with the Lutheran Churches was being nodded through. It's not that we don't care it's just that we want to get on with it and stop messing about. It's happening anyway - thank God! Sociologists tell us that the real forces for change in society always come from underneath - they start at ground level and ripple through the system until the leaders and decision makers have no option but to acquiesce and agree. I believe that that is our real hope in the Church.

Ordinary people are tired and frustrated with the machinations of bishops, moderators, church leaders call them what you will, and are simply getting on with it. They are breaking the rules, and are ignoring the edicts they neither understand nor agree with. God is in that frustration as much as he is in the detailed and painstaking work of the theologians and the Church politicians.

There is a dash of codswallop behind much of what passes for Christian Unity work and which at first sight looks like progress. There is an ancient saying of devastating power that says, “Love means letting go!” Perhaps it would be useful to apply that bit of wisdom to the church unity endeavour. How often in talks about unity has the opposite been presumed - that loving means not letting go! We love our traditions and we'll be damned if we are going to give up what our forefathers have fought for.

Damned is probably not far out if we insist on holding on to our own bit of the religious scenery come what may. We need to remind ourselves that we learn most from those we disagree with and whether we like it or not other churches have as reputable a theology as our own.

It is very few who can say, “I chose my Church!” For most of us, whether it's Catholic or Orthodox, Episcopal or Protestant, Evangelical or Salvation Army - we were born into it! Yet we have made progress. The genuine friendships, the trust created, the absence of animosity and suspicion, were all in evidence as we moved round the various churches last week. Whether it was in the Cathedral, the Salvation Army Citadel in San Agustin, the Norwegian and Swedish Church in el Terreno or the Russian Orthodox who meet in the crypt of San Sebastian, there are some signs of progress but not enough in my book.

Meanwhile out there somewhere is the world, bored to tears. Knowing a charade when it sees one. Knowing that if the Christians were genuine about unity they would have finished it by now!

Father Robert Ellis. Anglican Chaplain of Majorca


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