It is a rather sad state of affairs wandering around the high streets of Palma at the moment. A mass of For Sale and For Rent signs are slowly starting to appear. In Palma, especially in the centre, it was the cruise ship passengers which kept many businesses going.
Despite many complaints from residents these passengers were of vital importance to the local economy and their absence is clearly visible...especially to the owners of those shops, bars and restaurants which are now unable to survive these difficult times. An estimated 60 percent of shop takings in Palma during the summer months were to tourists. No tourists this year, no takings. I suspect that over the coming weeks this cycle of shop closures will gradually increase and there is little or nothing the local authorities can do to turn the tide unless they can convince landlords to freeze rents in return for tax break.
It is a sad state of affairs because everything has been so unexpected. No-one would have thought this time last year that there would be so few tourists in Palma this summer and that cruise ship passengers would have disappeared from the map. I sincerely believe that the so-called return to normality will take many years and there are some who believe that things will never be the same again. For Palma retailers this is a nightmare scenario. They were already experiencing lower sales as a result of the growth in internet shopping and now they have few tourists. A nightmare scenario.