It is very unlikely that the many excellent, but expensive, capital projects, designed to attract Winter tourist, suggested by Mr Jessop (letters 19 Dec) will ever be built, certainly not while this island spends years struggling out of a massive recession. But, meanwhile, there is a massive market that is untapped. The following need no more capital expenditure:
l Golf: Why is it that Majorca’s superb but regularly empty golf courses don’t realise that if they lowered their prices for a round, from the regular €100 plus, they could compete with Portugal, the Canaries and other locations where prices are at least half.
l Cycling: We have seen this grow dramatically over the past twenty years, but when all the cafes and small hotels are shut, what incentive is there for people to come in the dead months of November through to the end of March. Do deals with the airlines to pay for, or waive, the bike flight transport fee. Peanuts for the benefit it would bring.
l Winter Sun: More and more people take short breaks for Winter sun and increasingly go to Croatia, Turkey, Cyprus and other Mediterranean spots to get the benefit of the sort of weather we have had for the start of December. But the hotels, as we all know, are closed.
l Food Tourism, another growth Winter industry. But the restaurants are closed. I have a suggestion. Instead of paying hotels owners to survive a closed Winter, or offering the sort of tax incentives that have been suggested by some of your readers, in an effort to persuade hotels to stay open, pay hotels half the salary of staff that they keep on to operate hotels through the Winter. Instead of paying money out in unemployment benefit and schemes that subsidise hotel owners and their staff not to work, make it attractive to stay open. If the hotels stay open the airlines will be persuaded to keep flying; if the airlines fly, the hotels will have customers and if the island marketed itself as the perfect ‘reasonable cost’ place for golf, cycling, Winter sun and restaurants, in the true Winter months, there would be no immediate need to start building railways or Centre Parks to get people to come here. If the recession should have taught Majorcan businesses anything it is that prices here are too high in the Winter, that the island cannot survive in competition with other holiday destinations if people continue to think they can make enough easy money to disappear once November comes and that making the island attractive for Winter breaks means hard work, not more moaning.
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