STAFF REPORTER

PALMA
THE Balearic Business Association (CAEB) met yesterday with the Mayor of Palma, Aina Calvo, to discuss restarting late night shopping in the city during the tourist season, a venture entitled “Thursday Night Fever” which had proved most successful last year.

They were joined in the meeting by small-to-medium sized retailers' associations, PIMEM and Afedeco, and Palma's Hoteliers' Association.
The late night shopping will be in operation from 15th June to 15th September. The extended timetable will mean that shops will open until 9.30pm but on Thursdays - as was the case last year - doors won't close until between 11.30pm and midnight.

The project, aimed at attracting both tourists and residents who have more time for shopping in the evening, will be accompanied by a programme of street theatre and entertainment to bring a holiday atmosphere to the centre of the city. Information will be handed out both in the shops and out on the streets on the restaurants which will be staying open late to cater for shoppers.

A spokesman for the Hoteliers' Association said that the delegation of businesses had been well received by the Mayor. Calvo had reportedly given her support to a project which she envisaged as promoting economic activity and bringing wide acclaim to retail trade in the city.

The Association of Balearic Travel Agencies (Aviba) is also due to take part in the late night shopping programme by letting all their clients know of the benefits of extended opening times. The measure is apparently also being supported by both Spanish and foreign tour operators as being an added attraction for holiday makers, particularly with bars, cafés and restaurants remaining open in the historic centre.

Criticism has frequently been made that although Palma is a capital city in the Mediterranean, everything shuts down at 8pm, unlike major cities in other parts of Central Europe such as France, Scandinavia and the Benelux countries. Visitors and tourists to Palma are reportedly disappointed at the lack of atmosphere at night, just when they were hoping the city would “liven up.” Tourists coming off cruise ships have also been astounded that they are unable to spend their money in Palma on Saturday afternoons and Sundays resulting in the city losing out on valuable revenue.