Dear Sir,
I am writing to you to protest at the proposed tourist tax being introduced by the Majorcan government.
My wife and I have been coming to Majorca for 20 years and love the island. Over those years we have spent thousands of pesetas (pounds) which has helped the island economy.

We think that this tax is unfair and an insult to the British tourists, who have helped the economy survive over a number of years.
Tourism to the island is declining and this tax will de nothing to improve the situation, quite the reverse.
Prices being charged by the hoteliers have risen sharply over the last year, this and the disgusting bus drivers' strike last year, will not be forgotten by people who spend their hard earned money on the island and there is no doubt they will go to other destinations for their holidays.

Turkey and Tunisia are much cheaper and although we love Majorca, we will no longer be able to afford to come here, having to find the extra money.
We hope that this unfair tax will be stopped.

Yours faithfully

Doreen and Brian Beebee. Sol Elite. Cala Blanca

“Dangerous Withe House idiot”

Dear Sir, Can nothing be done about the dangerous White House idiot, who has created a war of terror, bombed and blasted thousands of square miles in a totally unnecessary war, spent billions of the tax payers' money; opted out of the Kyoto agreement to protect the planet from destruction; is ready to support a scheme of turning one of the most beautiful regions of the world in Canada into a desert of oil rigs, derricks, pylons and belching fumes; and finally one who has set his mind on increasing the production of arms and means of destruction? And there he struts on the White House lawns, with millions applauding! The same clown is ready to support the theft of Palestinian land by the Israelies, the pathetic vision of boys defending themselves with rocks against tanks and the heartless bulldozing of hundreds of Palestinian homes.

In years to come, history will tell the truth about this man.

Paul Roche. Soller.

The marina freeze
The Balearic government now wants to freeze the construction of more marinas in the Balearics in a similar manner to the halt declared on the construction industry. I think most people who live or visit the Balearics would support a scaling down or even a “rest period” for the building trade because sizeable parts of the Balearics have become little less than concrete jungles, whether it be with three star hotels or luxury holiday flats. I must admit that when I visit some areas I am distressed at the amount of building which has taken place. But turning to the question of marinas the government is greatly mistaken.

It is a simple fact that yachts and boats generate thousands of millions of pesetas for the economy and usually they attract the sort of holidaymaker the Balearics wants to attract, the big spender. One of the most successful building developments of recent times has been Puerto Portals. It was so successful that the Calvia council even considered transforming part of Magalluf into a yacht club by flooding waste ground and building a gateway to the sea.

Marinas are not just for foreign visitors they would benefit local boat owners, also.
I am not saying that every tourist area should have its own yacht club but a controlled building programme for marinas will go a long way to making the Balearics one of the most sought after sailing areas in the Mediterranean and overcome the present lack of moorings which is stalling further development.

Other areas of the Mediterranean would love to be in the same boat. It's a pity that a golden opportunity may be allowed to just sail past.

Jason Moore

Do you speak english?

Britain is becoming a nation of monoglots. The Ambassadors of Germany, Italy and Spain have very diplomatically made it known that they are worried and disappointed about the declining interest among British students in studying a second language. At A-level examinations, for instance, the number sitting the French test fell from 32'000 in 1992 to 18'000 last year; there was a smaller decline in German from 12'000 to 9'000 in the same period. Spanish was the only language in which an increased interest was shown, from just under to just over 5'000. There have been similar reductions in the numbers taking languages at university.

There are several reasons for this situation. Teachers believe that it started when foreign languages were dropped from the compulsory primary school curriculum when Margaret Thatcher was at the Ministry of Eduation. Then only last week Estelle Morris, the education minister, announced that pupils would be able to drop foreign language study at the age of 14. More generally, it is argued that English (or, more correctly, American) is now so widely spoken in the world that it is unnecessary to learn any foreign language. This is, of course, wrong. Whether for diplomatic, business, cultural or purely social reasons those with a single language cannot ever do more than skate on the surface of knowing and understanding other peoples. Unfortunately, it will be difficult to solve the problem quickly. Just to restore foreign languages at primary school level would require 22'000 qualified teachers, who probably do not exist; the decline feeds on itself.



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