Jaume Bauzà (left) and Iago Negueruela on Tuesday. | j. morey


Diaeresis might sound uncomfortably like loose bowel movement but is in fact a diacritical mark. It usually indicates the separation of two distinct vowels, this mark being two dots over one of the vowels. It differs to an umlaut, but umlaut - one guesses - is what we think of when we read Montuïri, a municipality unique in Mallorca for having two dots. Perhaps the umlaut association partly explains why Montuïri is popular with German residents. Who knows.

Anyway, enough of the language, what has Montuïri done to find itself the subject of a tourism focus? The truth is not a great deal. But the municipality can now boast having supplied a former mayor to the Balearic tourism ministry. Jaume Bauzà is the new minister for tourism (plus sport and culture), an appointment, from what one can make out, that owes as much to Partido Popular internal affairs as it does to any specific credentials for the post.

Eight years ago, after it was clear that José Ramón Bauzá couldn’t stay on as PP leader following the 2015 election disaster, Bauzá sought to manoeuvre his Montuïri namesake into a position of temporary president of the party in the Balearics while the PP faffed around (for what were to be months) in getting to name a permanent replacement. As it happened, he didn’t become temporary president, largely because Bauzá had wanted him to be.

The permanent replacement was to be Biel Company, who had been one of the great critics of José Ramón Bauzá. Jaume Bauzà, in alliance with Jaime Martínez, the second tourism minister under José Ramón Bauzá and now the mayor of Palma, had attempted to find an alternative to Company. They were unable to.

As things were to pan out, one formed the impression that Marga Prohens, the spokesperson for the PP in parliament during Francina Armengol’s first term as Balearic president, was all but leader in name. Company wasn’t terribly effective. It became increasingly obvious that the day would finally dawn and Company would step aside and Prohens would become party president. One of her great advocates was the man from Montuïri; Jaime Martínez, was another.

As is pretty much tradition in the Balearics, therefore, the minister won’t be one steeped in tourism. Strange you might think for a region with such a high dependence on tourism, but true. The first minister after autonomous government became a reality in 1983, Jaume Cladera, had a tourism background; he was a hotelier. Others have not been able to boast such an identity. Of the five most recent ministers, Carlos Delgado and Jaime Martínez - who were Bauzá’s two ministers - did at least come from Calvia town hall, Magalluf and all. The three to serve during the two Armengol terms had pretty much zero background - Biel Barceló had once been a summertime entertainer in a hotel; Bel Busquets was a philologist; Iago Negueruela was an employment inspector and, moreover, he wasn’t even from the Balearics, he was a Galician.

Tourism credentials don’t really seem to be that important, therefore. Nor is it significant where one is from, even if it is Montuïri. This said, Montuïri has been at the administrative centre of the development of tourism in Mallorca’s Pla region in recent years - quite successful rural tourism development at that - and Montuïri does offer a Balearic tourism minister rather more context than Santiago de Compostela.

So long as there are the right people in other positions, it may not matter if a minister’s tourism background is limited (non-existent). The new director-general of tourism is Josep Aloy, who was at the ministry between 1995 and 1999 and from 2011 to 2015. At the Council of Mallorca, Marcial Rodríguez is to be the new councillor for tourism, he also having been at the ministry in the past.
As the Council has assumed many tourism responsibilities from the government, such as promotion, the role of the ministry has in a way been diminished. But only up to a point. It is the ministry that brings in laws (or scraps them), not the Council. It is the ministry which is the principal point of contact for the likes of the hoteliers, not the Council. And the hoteliers, in general, will trust that they will be dealing with a minister who doesn’t go around bullying them, which is what Negueruela was accused of.

For the immediate future, the hoteliers will be content, even if they are underwhelmed by the ministerial appointment. But then they normally are underwhelmed, even if they never say so publicly; too diplomatic for that. At least they won’t be having to also try their best to conceal their horror, which was the case with Busquets. No, not at all, the man from the place with two dots will do just fine, unless he starts getting ideas about liberating more holiday rentals (and the same will apply to Llorenç Galmés and Marcial Rodríguez at the Council), at which point their wrath will be unleashed.