I have this unproven theory that when all the Covid rules and regulations regarding Brits holidaying in Mallorca are finally laid down in some sort of comprehensible form and understandable to all - in the main only certain categories of British tourists will make the effort to come to these shores.
Sticking my neck out, I would take the view that Mr & Mrs Smith and their 2.4 children have already booked a staycation in the UK - if at all. Perhaps the late teens and twenties will make the effort, but - with dire warnings regarding behaviour at certain resorts might well curb the enthusiasm of some potential visitors.
Indeed, I am told by those who should know about these things that so-called ‘empty nesters’ and second home owners will make up the bulk of British visitors to the island this year. Traditionally, empty nesters leave it late to arrive on the island - they’ve favoured the months of September and October in the past when the school holidays are over; could it be that this year they will arrive earlier, perhaps knowing that they will have the place pretty much to themselves?
I have written before about the ‘patchiness’ of those arriving in certain places across the island. German dominated resorts have done relatively well in this regard, primarily of course because they have been allowed to travel here pretty freely for some time now. I understand from those friends in the hospitality industry on the island that British dominated resort towns have been dusting themselves down in the past week or so, no doubt in anticipation of a probable surge in British holidaymakers. However, how big will that surge be - and how long it will have to sustain itself, is another question waiting for an answer.
The Changing face of some resort towns
In talking to people in the industry and those who live in places such as Palmanova it is quite obvious that ‘things’ are moving on apace in terms of redefining this popular resort town. From the local council (Calvia) undertaking projects that improve the towns physical environment - to the fact that as restaurants fold under the financial pressure from the pandemic, other entrepreneurs seem to be intent on ‘buying up’ those that have struggled and are clearly developing their own outlets and brands as part of a sort of modern day renaissance of what was once a rather typical British holiday resort.
Clearly changes are afoot in a number of traditional resorts across the island. Much has been made of the ‘staycation’ phenomenon in the United Kingdom. It has to be said that up until a short time ago, this was the only holiday option open to people who wanted to get away this summer. Interestingly, listening to British radio during the late May Bank Holiday there were huge queues of traffic not only down to Devon and Cornwall as would be expected - but almost anywhere even vaguely attached to the sea and pretty countryside. Moreover, typically prices went through the roof, not just for B&B’s and holiday parks, but for the cost of everything from a can of coke for the kids to a warm beer and a sandwich.
At a stroke, holidaymakers were, and are being reminded of just how expensive it is to holiday in the United Kingdom at anytime of the year. Given a fair wind and a suitable ending to Covid-19 and all its works, my best guess would be that the tourism industry will still have a tough few months ahead of them, particularly within the British market. Nevertheless, come 2022 and I honestly believe that the tourism industry on the island will have re-calibrated and improved itself after it has confronted and worked around the fall-out of the coronavirus epidemic.
Immigration controls - time for clarity
I know that overdosing on social media in these difficult times can sometimes be both infuriating and confusing. A solid enough news story that has had a persons ‘spin’ place upon it can have irritating knock-on effects. Nevertheless, a pattern does emerge regarding the way that immigration control at Palma does not always work within a single clearly understood fashion.
Nevertheless, I have read reports from incoming airline passengers that have ranged from being ‘nodded through’ without so much as a by-your-leave - to people wrangling with officials not content with a persons paperwork that was seemingly okay at the end of the last shift manned by different police personnel.
To be fair, I have witnessed this in reverse upon a foreign national entering the United Kingdom - however, the one thing that will enrage an air traveller almost more than anything else, this being inconsistency in anything. From hand baggage weight, to various bits of paperwork that nobody told you was needed, but this stroppy bloke in a uniform is now demanding.
England v Germany -Who has won the vaccination game?
As you read this, last night’s Uefa 2021 last 16 match between England and Germany will be old news. I like to think that I can support England without reverting to moronic name calling - so hopefully our lads triumphed. Anyway, this leads me to the UK’s current relationship with Germany as Chancellor Merkel continues her call to ban all Brits from Europe vaccinated or not.
I’m sure there are plenty of reasons why Frau Merkel has done this, but - why would she? She must know that it is highly unlikely that at least six EU members including Spain will have no truck-at-all with such an idea - for obvious reasons. But perhaps more crucially, why would such an experienced and well regarded politician stick her neck out so far in a doomed cause?
As she is soon to retire from the top job, I find it all very confusing and more than a little irritating. Surely it can’t be about the United Kingdom beating the Germans hand-over-fist in the Covid vaccination stakes?
Please keep the Tramuntana's tidy
My Bulletin colleague Andrew Ede wrote a fascinating piece in yesterdays paper featuring the fact that it has been ten years since our very own Tramuntana Mountain range was added to the list of those parts of the world deemed a ‘World Heritage Site’. He went on to explain the criteria by which this wonderful mountain range was held in such high esteem and some of its unique features in the context of those who live within its boundaries.
I wonder how those who selected the Tramuntana Mountains to this prestigious list would feel if it was reported that parts of this World Heritage Site is host to building and construction companies who rent land off local landowners and then dump all the waste material they can muster on the very same land? It appears that local councils typically couldn’t care less - I wonder if those who administer World Heritage Sites might be interested in this fact in their Paris based offices? I might give it a try!
How's the weather with you?
“What is it with you English and the weather?” So says my Mallorcan pal Pep, who is a retired hotel director and has a vast collection of amusing anecdotes regarding our supposed obsession with the weather, any kind of weather. He shakes his head ruefully and recollects whole days when he has had to field questions regarding anything from heavy rain, unseasonal rain and that old conversation starter i.e. - unexpected rain.
Moreover, he like to tell me about the way that we Brits puff out our cheeks to emphasise the fact that it is extremely hot “for the time of year,” and the hours of fun that we can get from explaining to other Brits the undoubted fact that the weather that we are currently enduring is more akin to August rather than late June and “God only knows when it will all end.”
I find this all very amusing on a number of levels - first of all, I love it that some expatriates are still surprised when it gets somewhat ‘scorchio’ here in Mallorca during the summer. A little like being taken aback that they apparently get snow on the North pole during the winter. Never mind all that though, what disturbs me the most is some people’s insistence that they explain to innocent bystanders how much they are sweating and whereabouts.
It gets hot in Mallorca during the summer - Get over it!
However, none of this whining about the weather is half as bad as some of the clothes that many insist on wearing when the temperature climbs. I don’t want to be too precise for fear of upsetting some folk out who go completely berserk, clothes wise, whenever the temperature should nudge 30oC. Wouldn’t it be good on occasions if some could be encouraged to follow the example of those who live in desert like conditions and wear more clothing to combat the heat? Too much to ask I suppose!
Anyway, mooching around our resort towns, one tends to catch a glimpse of more flesh than one might bargain for and live to regret it. I thought there was supposed to be some bye-law in place that prohibits the wanton exposure of a person’s body away from the beach or hotel swimming pool. It was said that a crack-squad of coppers would protect the innocent and insist that the semi-naked regained a little decorum and covered themselves up a little so as not to frighten small children and animals.
Well, I can tell you that I have seen no such drive for common decency on my daily excursions and you would not believe some of the shocking sights that are on offer out there by those who are aesthetically challenged. The other day I spotted two local policeman standing idly by with their arms crossed looking annoyingly handsome as a squadron of shirtless and ‘topless’ tourists waddled past them on a street at least 500 metres from the beach. Surely they would be arrested? No such luck, indeed I did think of denouncing them, but thought better of it, as you never know where these things can lead can you?
Smarten up, will you?
Is it just me, but has anyone else noticed that our local and regional politicians are on the scruffy side of unkempt? However, being a little old-fashioned in the area of politics, I do wish that some of our representatives would smarten themselves up a little bit, mostly it is the men because the women seem to have at least some desire to look professional. One very senior bloke is in desperate need of a decent haircut and if I see him out-and-about I will tell him as well!
Then there are those who insist on wearing jeans and plimsolls all the time - come on, buck your ideas up, if you can’t be bothered to put on a shirt and tie, how do you expect to run the local or regional council, that’s what I say. I don’t know as much about Spanish politics, as I think I do regarding UK public affairs, but I have noticed that in the House of Commons that all manner of men are turning up to debates tieless and I’m told that some women MPs don’t even wear tights anymore - extremely bad form if you ask me. But here in Mallorca, its much, much worse, I can tell you.
Isn’t it funny; when I was growing up, your local Labour Party candidate would knock on doors in his best suit, because that’s what working class men seeking election would wear. On the other hand, Conservative Party candidates were altogether a little more louche, wearing sports jackets and flannels and a cravat - imagine it, a cravat; my old man said that they all looked like “Bookies-runners.” Anyway, compared to the scruff-bags we have over here they looked like they were actually trying. Just saying!