Dear Sir,
HAVING read your letters concerning the all–inclusive debate I thought it was time to enter the arena. This has been a subject I have had strong views on since they their rise in popularity since the advent of the euro in January 2002. Prices rose dramatically in some sectors after the introduction of the euro, just as it did with decimilsation in the UK in 1971. Consequently, the British tour operators were faced with people opting for cheaper holiday destinations and, bearing in mind, the increase in popularity of DIY holidays, they had to do something ... and that was to negotiate more all–inclusive deals with Mallorcan hoteliers. And it worked, the hotels, according to your pages over the last few months, have had a good year. So the hotels owners aren't complaining. You don't have to tell me what an adverse effect the all–inclusive deals have on bars, cafes, restaurants and shops – I see it all the time. But I must ask two questions on this subject. Why are there so many bars, particularly in the likes of Calvia. Surely, the council(s) could have prevented so many new bars being created, or indeed, they could have curbed the number of new locals being created when a new building went up. Secondly, I thought it was the responsibility of an establishment to submit their price lists every year? I also seem to remember that the Government said in 2001, that when the euro came in, the rounding 'up' of pesetas to euros had, in fact, to be rounded 'down' when converted. If establishments did indeed submit new price lists in 2002 then why did somebody in the respective council offices not compare the prices with the previous year because if they had, they would gave seen a pattern emerging ... i.e. 100 pesetas was rapidly becoming one euro. That is a 66 per cent increase. Wow! Remember those days of 100 peseta cups of coffee? Well, there is a chiringuito in Porto Colom sell a caf con leche for 3 euros ... 500 pesetas in 'old' money! Now that IS expensive. I know how expensive it is for a family to come on holiday to Mallorca. Our daughter, partner and three grand–children came here for two weeks last July. They stayed on the eas–coast, which is cheaper than many south–west resorts, but at one euro 50 a time for bottles of water and soft drinks, it made it an expensive holiday. They spent a lot of money in Mallorca in 2005, and will do so again in 2006 because they liked it so much they are coming back, but have booked an all–inclusive package, because they will save money in the long run – if only on drinks and ice creams for the kids. All–inclusive very much has a place in the Mallorcan tourist market, and it is not just for beer swilling lager louts, as some seem to think. It is a way of keeping the average British family coming here for their holiday. Don't forget, the success of this island as a holiday destination was made by the average family whereby the husband had three pints of lager at night, the wife had a couple of Martinis, and the kids drank coke all day and ate burgers. Like it or not, this is, and always should be, the basis of the Mallorcan tourist trade. If you get your 'quality tourists' as well, then that is a bonus. But without 'Mr. and Mrs. Average', and what were 2.4 kids, there would not be an infrastructure on this island and none of us would be living here. I remember at one of the organized meeting to try and get Carlos Delgado elected as Calvia mayor, somebody was asking could they have another bin in Portals Nous when they get into power. I pointed out that it would be better trying to (a) keep the tourists we have and (b) try and get back the ones we have lost. Without either, believe me, there won't be any need for bins! If there was a solution to then all–inclusive problem, then I, like most bars and restaurant owners would like to see it, but until such time, then all–inclusive is here to stay. Graham Phillips (MDB, November 12) wrote one interesting line. He said: ”many bars and restaurants would sell up, if there were any buyers for this slowly dying sector on the island.” That is a very, very interesting statement. Who are the happiest people on this island at present? First of all (a) the hotel owners and (b) the guys who own the freeholds of bars and restaurants. This latter group don't care whether a bar or restaurant has customers in it or not. They will always get their rent, if not on a monthly basis, but when the business is sold if there are any arrears ... in addition they will also get the 10, 20 or whatever per cent of transaction when the trespaso is sold on. So they're happy as well. But just maybe, if, as Graham Phillips suggests, that market died even further, then the guys who have been used to bars being sold year–after–year, as many have, would not be so happy and maybe they would then put pressure on the hoteliers (unless, of course, they are themselves hoteliers as well!). Watch this space...
Ian Morrison, Porto Colom


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