It was something in Pollensa, I don’t recall what exactly. But it would have had to do with some works. To a road or to a torrent. Something of that kind. One of the parties in Pollensa, the Alternativa, who live up to their name in adopting alternative positions to just about everything, didn’t quite come up with the gag about ‘how many so or so’s does it take to do such or such’, but they more or less did. A load of town hall representatives were gathered to have their photo taken at said works.
Why were they all there in the photo? Why were any of them in the photo? Was appearing in a photo the sole point of their town hall existence? The Alternativa are not alone in this regard. I have often wondered the same myself, and certainly not just about Pollensa town hall.
We didn’t get to the bottom of the claim made by the environmentalists Terraferida that the Los40 Music Awards in Palma last Friday benefited from funding from tourist tax revenue, unless we paid close attention to the bottom of some of the publicity material. But there was little escaping the fact that tourism “authorities” and other types of authority were on parade for the pre-awards snap-taking.
One after one came the celebrities. Ed Sheeran looked somewhat sheepish, as if he - for one - was wondering why he was there. Mind you, he would probably have known that he was going to clean up. Justin Bieber knew that he wasn’t going to and so hadn’t bothered.
Purely from a music celeb point of view, they don’t come much bigger than Ed, while the same could be said of big names from the Spanish-Latino market who fully merited being on the end of a photographer’s lens, even if those whose music awareness starts and ends with Ed and the British charts would have been none the wiser. There again, this was Palma and not London.
Then there were the authorities, at least two of whom have hands-on interest in the tourist tax - tourism minister Iago Negueruela and tourism director-general Rosana Morillo. There they all were, standing in a row - and not a mask between them! How times change.
Or maybe it’s a case of how photo situations change and thus demand the wearing or not of a mask. Who else did we have? There was the mayor of Palma, José Hila; the president of the Council of Majorca, Catalina Cladera; and the Council’s tourism councillor, Andreu Serra. Apologies to the others, but you weren’t immediately recognisable.
The Alternativa’s questions sprang to mind. Why were they all there? The only one missing, and curiously so, was Francina Armengol. She, Cladera and Hila seem to come as a package these days. It was understandable that the mayor of Palma had been present for a photo shoot earlier on Friday - one to announce the extension of the Metro with over 20 million euros of EU Next Generation funds (and not a cent of tourist tax revenue, it now seems) - but why had the president of the Council of Majorca been needed as well?
Armengol and Cladera are especially inseparable nowadays. Confirmation of their PSOE leadership functions having recently been given, might their regular appearances together have something to do with elections coming in some eighteen months? A united PSOE front to present to the electorate.
Continuity for 2023. No other party comes close in this regard, be it the opposition or fellow members of the “pact”. Throw Hila into the mix, and the image of a three-headed government of Mallorca is reinforced.
But this still doesn’t explain the photo parade at the music awards, except of course for the fact that the main logos that appeared on the publicity material were those of the ministry for the economic model, tourism and employment; the Aetib tourism strategy agency; the Council of Mallorca’s Mallorca Tourism Foundation; and the sustainable tourism tax. The full wording for the latter on some of this material was “project financed with funds from the sustainable tourism tax”.
What did these awards have to do with tourism? And at whom, from the government and the Council’s perspective, were where they targeted? If it was tourists, then the awards would have made barely a ripple outside Mallorca and Spain. Ed Sheeran was in Majorca picking up an award. Oh really? Another one?
Was it all an expression of the extension of the season? Come to Majorca in November and see the stars at an awards ceremony. So, is Majorca going to be hosting them from now on, as - with the exception of 2016 in Barcelona - they’ve always been in Madrid until now? Even if this were to be the case, tourists would probably be unlucky. Sets of tickets went on sale twice and sold out immediately. And then there are all the Spanish acts they will never have heard of.
Who knows. But not to worry, as there were always the photos, with the PSOE tourism collective on show.