The tourist board (tourism ministry - editor), apart from the tourist tax, seems to be completely engaged with conferences and producing statistics, none of which help in spreading the word around the UK, and presumably elsewhere, that there are many activities in Majorca available to tourists in the winter months. Conferences spread the word to the already converted or to tour operators who are mainly interested in selling sun, sea and sand holidays in the already overcrowded summertime.
A look through the availability of winter holidays from four major tour operators to this area show that only Cosmos offer hotel holidays in winter and this is restricted to two UK departures per week. Is this a reflection of the lack of winter flights or is it that the UK public are unaware of the benefits of Majorca in the winter? It is, most likely, a combination of the two. The lack of flights has been addressed many times and the provision of such flights has been well studied and well promoted, without success so far. Many will say, and they may be right, that if sufficient tourists wished to visit Majorca in the winter, then the airlines would provide the flights.
It is therefore the duty of the tourist board to show Majorca in a good light through the UK media and on the internet. The effect of bad exposure, as seen recently in TV documentaries centred on Magalluf, is only too obvious. A particular low-cost airline suffered a big drop in profits a year or so ago when, due to the misconception that any exposure is good advertising, the airline published two successive profit warnings. Now that airline has completely changed its approach by spending money on creating a better image. They are now enjoying a 25% increase in profits over the previous year with better to come.
A look at advertising in the media shows that large national and international companies see the advantage in continually telling the public how superior and grand are their products. Supermarkets, toothpaste companies, hair products, insurance companies, the list is almost endless. About Majorca nothing, yet the four countries and many of the counties and districts of the UK feel that it is beneficial to regularly advertise on TV and in the Saturday and Sunday newspapers.
During the five winter months (November to March) Majorca attracts only 5% of the total UK annual visitors, which equates to fewer than five flights per day, this also being the number of flights which were actually operated during the winter of 2014/15. On the other hand, Malta attracts 24% of its UK visitors in the same winter months. If Majorca could increase its share of winter visitors to that of Malta, that would increase the winter numbers from 108,000 to 518,000 requiring an average of 22 flights per day from UK airports. A locally based airline, operating just two aircraft, could satisfy this requirement should the present UK based airlines be unable or unwilling to oblige.
A previous article in The Bulletin compared the attractions of Malta to those available in Majorca. Really not much of a competition, Majorca wins hands down. So come along tourist board and get your act together. If Majorca can attract a further 400,000 winter visitors staying on average for 5 nights then the extra tax levied on the increased turnover of hotels, private accommodation, restaurants, cafes and bars would, no doubt, go a long way towards making the proposed tourist tax a thing of the past.