Dear Sir,

Well, that took a while for the Ministry of Tourism to realise that there are 815'000 less air seats to the Balearics being filled this winter. Nice to see they are on the ball.

No doubt they are now scratching their heads and decide what to do about it. Good luck.

Quite simply there are very few planes coming here from the UK because tourists do not want to come here. Why not? Because everywhere is shut.
Why? Because there are no hotels open. Why? Because tour operators do not promote the Balearics in the winter. Why? Because there is nowhere open – here we go again.

At what point should this roundabout stop and somebody get on?
I don't really know to be honest, but why not give this a go?
Next winter pick a resort, get the Government to give a financial incentive to several hotels in that resort to open, and offer a similar incentive to staff to come off the dole. Make the hotels in that resort half board without any all-inclusive deals; this would be an incentive enough for staff who would then get the tips they lose out on because of all-inclusive. Right. That's the hotels open. What next?

Take a big chunk of the Tourism Board budget and go to one or two of the big tour operators in the UK and pay them yes, pay them, (that's what we're good at over here) to put the resort in their Winter brochures and, hopefully, Bob's your uncle.

If that works next winter, then open up other, or all resorts, from thereon in. I have spoken to people in the last 10 days who have been to both Benidorm and Benelmádena and both are busy with “rammed” being the word to describe Benidorm.

Just look at how many EasyJet and Ryanair flights there are from the UK and Ireland to Palma for the first week in December … there are 15 flights from five regional airports. How many are there from the UK and Ireland to Alicante you ask? There are 86 flights from 15 regional airports. And to Malaga there are 76 fights from, again, 15 regional airports.

That is some difference eh? And don't forget, Thomson's also have 20 hotels or apartments on the Costa del Sol to pick from during the first week in December and 18 on the Costa Brava. In Majorca how many do they have? None.

According to the average temperature in Majorca in December is 11 degrees, and 12 degrees on both the Costa del Sol and Costa Blanca – so the weather is not the problem.

The figures I have quoted have highlighted how serious things are over here. The English-speaking tourists have deserted our island in the winter months and if something is not done soon then it will be the same story in the summer months.

And let's throw one final thing into the mix. As the politicians and media are besotted with statistics, Thomson's are cutting the number of cruise ships sailing out of Palma from three to two in summer 2012. That is a 33% drop, but in terms of passengers it is 44'100 less cruise passengers, which is 37.05% less passengers than in 2011. It will be interesting how the Ministry of Tourism manages to turn that disturbing statistic into a positive one. But I am sure they will… Sorry, this is definitely the final thing.
Have you noticed how many of the large advertising hoardings on this island have no adverts on them. I have just travelled from Calas de Majorca to Manacor Hospital (don't worry, I'm OK!) and passed 12 large hoardings – only three of them had adverts on them. And that is on an island that was booming with tourists last year! What will it be like when it isn't booming?

Ian Morrison
Porto Colom


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