IN my opinion, Mr Green is wrong regarding the need for shops to open over the next puente. The puente creates exactly the situation that you said the islands' hotels and restaurants need: i.e. a long weekend where the general public, not only in Majorca but all over Spain, can get away for a few days and spend money in the tourist orientated trade. I can vouch from experience that restaurants normally do excellent business over these long weekends, and many hotels offer special deals to families if they stay for a three-day period. Unfortunately the island doesn´t benefit as much as it should due to the cost of travelling here, but even so, it gains more than it would during a normal working week. Anyway, who wants to go shopping seven days a week? Yours sincerely, Simon Tow
I READ with interest your column regarding cruise ship tourism and you seem to imply the passengers are not spending much on their visits ashore to Majorca? I beg to differ. As a veteran of many cruise holidays, and one who calls Majorca my home, I can vouch for the fact that the majority of passengers do contribute a great deal to the local economies, both here and in other ports. Firstly, with the exception of a few, the tours push varied programmes of excursions, using local guides, buses and restaurant stops. If the passengers don't go on these, then there are shuttle buses laid on to the downtown, where at least passengers buy a drink, a postcard, perfumes and souvenirs.
If not passengers, I witness great crowds of crew (many from the Philippines) stocking up on goods in the Porto Pi centre, such as toiletries, soft drinks and biscuits to take back to their accommodation on the ship - as they are cheaper than the on-board shop - or making phone calls back home etc. This shopping centre is within walking distance of most of the ships.
The majority of passengers wish to see the island and its heritage such as the finca, Els Calderers, which offers local dance music, dancers, tapas, home produce typical to Majorca and is used by many cruise lines as a special event, likewise Alfabia and its gardens. Everyone asks about the villages of Valldemossa, with its Chopin connection, Deya, Porto Christo and its caves, Manacor and the pearl factory, the leather factories of Inca and its famous Camper shoes outlet. I had to write down endless lists for passengers when the ship I was on visited here; for the shoppers, the art lovers and the gourmets, who wanted restaurant recommendations. If this is not spending money I don't know what is?
I come from Southampton and a lot could be learnt from the great passenger cruise set-up there. The reps live here, much of the re-stocking of the ships is done with local produce and the day the ship does its turnaround there is time for the crew to do some stocking up too.
Lastly; however the spend is counted, cruise passengers are potential return tourists, who, at worst, get a glimpse of the Island whilst on their brief visit, which hopefully could tempt them back in the future. This island is an excellent cruise stop and all efforts should be made to market this kind of tourism. Yours sincerely, Yvonne Cotton, Palmanova