A year ago most people in Palma were complaining that they were far too many tourists, and the Balearic government was looking at banning the big cruise ships. This year the business community in Palma are keeping their fingers crossed that they will see some tourists this summer.
It is amazing how things have changed in the space of 12 months and it clearly underlines the fact that Palma´s shops are dependent on tourists. In fact, 70 per cent of shop takings in the city are from holidaymakers. Some shops have reopened but are now thinking of closing again, not because of the state of emergency but because of the lack of trade. There are no tourists and many will find it very difficult to survive if international tourist flights don´t start arriving in Palma soon. The government and the Palma city council is well aware of this state of affairs and they are desperately trying to open-up the island to tourists.
Already, some shops have decided to close down and have put their businesses up for sale. Shops and bars which were geared towards cruise ship passengers are having a nightmare time. The city council needs to help. Palma´s shopping areas have some of the highest rents in the country and perhaps it is time that landlords gave their tenants a break and reduced the rents especially for these difficult weeks and months. It is evident that they can´t just rely on the so-called resident trade. It helps, but not a lot. The Balearic government needs to ensure that tourist flights start arriving on the island as soon as it is safe. The business community can´t wait too much longer.