Where are all the tourists?
Arriving back home from Africa was a strange experience.
Normally during July and August the Soller valley is awash with visitors but this year, there is a definite drop in numbers.
Some locals have welcomed this, citing that in previous years, the sheer volume of cars and bodies affected the infrastructure of the area.
I have to say that it is pleasant to walk the streets in town without having to step into the road due to the crowds.
All the same, the regional government must surely hope that this is not a new and growing trend.
As an island we rely heavily on tourism for the local economy and cannot afford to have such shaky summer seasons.
I have spoken to hoteliers, restaurateurs and retailers locally and all have confirmed that figures are down.
One restaurateur grumbled that tourists are spending far less too, often sharing one plate between two rather than purchasing two meals.
My local bread shop reported the same, telling me that couples are buying just one ensaimada or croissant and splitting it in two!
It is obvious that Brexit has affected British tourism but what of other nationalities whose visitor numbers have declined?
Many in my town feel that the excellent prices being offered for travel and hotel packages by countries such as Turkey, Greece and Egypt are to blame.
There is definitely some potential truth in this as an increasing number of my London friends are grabbing cheap five and four-star packages in these countries while there is so much Brexit uncertainty.
Some hotels on the island are charging upwards of 600€ per night for a double room so it is obvious that travellers will make price comparisons and vote with their feet unless funds are no object.
The one big elephant in the room is safety though.
For now Tunisia, Egypt, and Turkey have been reasonably safe following devastating terrorism in the recent past.
But of course, all it takes is for an attack to occur and all the plates will come crashing down. Just as it did in my beloved Sri Lanka.
The other important point is that Majorca offers unparalleled healthcare and a superb infrastructure.
It is just a two-hour hop from most other European destinations and its safety record is high.
For that assurance alone, families will continue to flock to the island as will couples looking for a classy destination which offers a variety of terrain and cultural experiences.
I suppose in the end, one pays for what one gets. Still, this is not a time for complacency and if costs continue to rise, the quality must be matched.
And in charging more, some lower income families and individuals will fall by the wayside.
Majorca has to be prepared for this or otherwise adjust its prices.
While the sunshine spills across our golden isle, some poor Britons have not been so lucky.
As I write, the RAF is currently attempting to halt 300m tonnes of dam water from annihilating the pretty town of Whaley Bridge in Derbyshire in the Peak district.
This is an area of outstanding beauty and I have spent many happy times in the area hiking, especially as a student.
An estimated 400 tonnes of sand and rocks have been released onto the crumbling dam in the hope of arresting the rushing water from escaping, should it burst.
Already 1,500 locals have been forced to flee their homes and should the RAF’s endeavours prove unsuccessful, these poor people may have no place to return.
It’s a weird time for weather. In the UK, France and Germany there have been wild periods of boiling heat followed by flash floods and moody skies.
By contrast, Majorca has remained hot and sticky, as to be expected at this time of year.
I’m not quite sure why the Toddbrook reservoir and dam has become so damaged by recent flash floods but let’s hope it can be salvaged and strengthened.
Meanwhile all my digits are crossed for Whaley Bridge residents, and I wish them a safe return to their homes that hopefully will still be intact.
Even though I have heaps of work to do on my return from Africa, I look around at holidaymakers and feel a sudden inertia come over me.
How nice it must be to get up late, hop along on the tram to the beach, have a lazy dip and a cocktail and a relaxing siesta during the afternoon.
By night, a refreshing shower, followed by a delicious beachfront meal with wine is the order of the day while I’m ensconced at my desk tapping away at the keys, with an ineffectual fan at my side.
I deserve not a jot of sympathy as I have just spent a glorious month in the African region.
It is pure sunshine holiday envy that I’m experiencing!
So, to keep myself on course I allow myself small treats throughout the week- a piece of almond cake, croissant and espresso in my local café, and best of all, a night time date with Netflix a few days each week.
My current fixation is the third series of Stranger Things but now that’s finished and even the cheesy Designated Survivor, I am onto the next.
It’s some kind of weird space odyssey and the acting’s not great but it takes my thoughts away from work and the intense heat so at least I’m grateful for that.