Alert re: thieves in Pollensa
Dear Sir, I just wanted to post a warning for people to be on the lookout - we were on the beach at Pollensa this afternoon (where the kitesurfers are) and had left our bag on the beach.

My husband and I were swimming, and we noticed a silver BMW 3 series pull up on the side of the road.
The passenger got out and made as if he were looking for something, and then picked up our bag, made his way back to the BMW and they sped off.
Apparently this car had been seen there a couple of days before, and the surfers noticed them watching things going on the beach with binoculars.
Unfortunately we weren't able to get out of the water quick enough, but in the hopes that these people get caught and don't catch any other people unawares, I thought I would just warn people.

Jilliam Bluett

Dear Sir, How are Spain (Majorca) getting away with refusing residencia (residence permits) to British citizens unless they can produce documentary evidence that they have sufficient funds and private health insurance to cover their stay here? What happened to free movement of European citizens throughout the European work zone? Also, why do the oficina de extranjeros in Palma employ such unhelpful, obstructive and arrogant staff in their offices?

Ray Crymble

Dear Sir, Your front page headline a couple of Saturdays ago said it all for me “We should thank every tourist who comes to Spain”. I do not see the need for either bulk cheap tourists or luxury tourism. We can and do have both.

A few days earlier Riki was reminiscing over the golden days with a photo of Errol Flynn on his yacht ZACA. In the 50's Majorca had this exclusive high spending tourism such as George Sanders who settled in Genova. Also Prince Ranier & Grace Kelly, Charles Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks, Ava Gardiner, Rita Hayworth, Terry Thomas etc. Mustique had nothing on Palma. Then the island had no all-inclusive hotels. These stars and the other high flyers only frequented 5 star hotels. Perhaps no more than 10 were needed. Tourism was small business then.

Of late Dubai has featured as the possible saviour for the island. Full of mega rich they would come in droves to savour our beaches and soon to be built 5 star hotels. Let me inform the Council as they have obviously never lived there - they already have glorious beaches, year round sun and mind boggling 7 star hotels. Perversely enough what they don't have, and might flock to, is the life style of the Bier Strasse and Punta Balena. To put it bluntly cheap drink and sex are in very short supply in the Emirates exactly what our government wishes to remove. But for the sake of argument put that to one side and assume they come in numbers. Numbers are of course relative. If every native of Dubai was a millionaire and everyone man woman and child of them came say twice a year for a couple of weeks each time their population is so small they'd only need 7000 beds. 10 5 star hotels? Right back to our Mustique past! We have foolishly expected perpetual growth. Tourists can develop and move on. We have had the elite although the odd yacht may decamp to Malta. We have had the massed tourists although we have lost some 18-30s to Cyprus. We still have both in some quantity but because we have much more competition than before we have to adjust accordingly. For better or worse Can Pastilla which once had 6 discos now has TripAdvisor saying it has a Spanish feel about it with an older age group! We must adjust to the actual market rather than just wishfully thinking of changing it.

The islands are sending out a mixed message wanting fewer but bigger spending visitors, more yachties but no more berths, more off season tourists but no more golf courses. Where is the loyalty to the millions of working class punters who made the islands the richest province of Spain? Holiday Makers first came to the Balearics because of its climate, convenience and cost. Those who return year in year out do because of the warm welcome they receive and the value for money which many still offer.

Our young visitors get a bad press but at least they pay their own way. 5000 older fans turned up to support and listen to the Balearic Philharmonic Orchestra at the last demonstration. How come it needs a subsidy? Mallorca Rocks doesn't. Spain is not the tourist crime/health/drunken capital of the holiday world. Turkey heads the rape league, Thailand tops for deaths and the US has the most arrests. Obviously being substantially bigger our totals figures are substantially bigger but not proportionately.

There is one major underexploited area of tourist which isn't cheap and is top dollar ahead of yachts and 5 star hotels - holiday homes. It ticks all the boxes creating the golden tourists we reputedly search for. They start by building or buying their own accommodation. They then have it plumbed, electrified and kited out with its own furniture and equipment in the kitchen, bathrooms, bedrooms, lounge, garden, garage etc. The most modest will give little change out of 100000€. They visit the island as often as they can, not just a single week in August. Other weeks can be allocated to family, friends and could be to paying guests – tourists not amenable to buffet meals and second rate plonk in an All Inclusive. From the moment they hit the airport their spend is high – a taxi or hire car to their holiday home and there after exploring the island and its Bistros and Restaurants - not the poor tourists these same restaurateurs moan about.

Their homes have to be made ready every week occupying maids, gardeners and handymen. The state receives capital gains tax on the sale then annual rates on the properties plus 21% IVA on their purchases. While on the island they cost little as they do not use the educational facilities nor require help as disadvantaged citizens and often provide income for private medicine not to mention lawyers.

It is true that the homes do not generate as much rental tax they could because the laws regulating letting, specifically in Majorca, have been drafted by the Tourist Board/Hotel Lobby to exclude to the maximum this type of competition. Not content with this, through the All Inclusives, the hotels seem set on monopolising the peripheral bar and restaurant business. Given time they may even supersede discos and souvenir shops too.

Mike Lillico
Playa de Palma

Essential car hire
Dear Sir, I have been following closely the “Car Hire” debate! I have been coming to Majorca, every July for over twenty years now! It is essential that I hire a car to get to and from the airport and around the island. Every year the Car hire and added costs have been rising steeply! This year I paid for my car hire plus fully comprehensive insurance when I booked it on the Internet-to shorten the waiting time at the airport! Last year the queue was over two hours before I finally received the keys, this year was slightly better, only over one hour! How come after all these years the same car hire companies never learn- they don't cater for the number of flights or customers who have to queue! They know how many customers are arriving as we all have to state flight numbers on our booking forms?

When I finally reached the desk I was asked in German if I would like additional insurance -I replied in English that I had already paid Full comprehensive insurance but you are advised to cover extras- these extras cost me a grand total of 210 euros. Reluctantly I paid for these as I'm used to the driving of Majorcan road users being undesirable! It's sad to think that many tourists are being “put off” car hire by extortionate fees and miss out on exploring this beautiful island! However, this is the first year I have encountered vandalism to my lovely new hired car! My Mum is recovering from a knee joint replacement and I parked my car on the public road in the nearest bay beside my timeshare apartment in Cala D'or. When I came back to the car the next morning the passenger door had a huge “Fresh” key cut along the side of the door-the scratched paint was still floating on the huge “welt” on the car. A German holiday maker told me it was a hotel worker in a White Audi who had “Keyed” the car, probably because we had taken what he had deemed as “his” parking space- we noticed for the rest of our visit that he parked in this space, most of the time we were there! The hotel said I would need witnesses-unfortunately by this time the German family had gone back home to Germany! Later in the week, whilst we were in the large Eroski supermarket in Cala D'on, my driver side door was “Keyed” nobody was interested when I reported this too, I believe it to be a manager in the store- It is a sad reflection on how the actions of two locals have changed my attitude to my second home! My Mallorquin friends were horrified when they saw the damage that had been done for what reasons we don't know!I would like to highlight to All Car Hire Companies in Majorca that they are effectively “Killing” the Car Hire business-with all the extras charging Full tank of Petrol 90 euros. It only cost me 75 euros to fill the tank at the local garage during our two week stay! Do these companies not realise that when tourists hire cars they help to promote travelling around this beautiful island to see the little villages/attractions that wouldn't normally have tourists and help local businesses flourish during “Austerity” - we visited our favourite little Bars/restaurants off the main roads in many of the villages dotted throughout the interior of the island.

Next year, I will be travelling to my apartment by Resorthoppa and hiring my car locally in Cala D'or for possibly two weeks instead of four - hopefully the local vandals will have given-up scratching cars by then but I seriously doubt that! This summer I found the roads/Bars/Restaurants/tourist attractions, Majorca in general was very quiet compared to previous years - I think the ayuntamiento should take notice that tourists are already choosing to go elsewhere. Sadly, this is Majorca's Big loss! Mrs E Weldon


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