By Ryan Harrison photos: P. Bota
BRITISH holiday makers arriving in Palma yesterday spoke out in horror at the sight that greeted them: a rubbish-strewn Son San Juan airport.
Following a cleaners' strike, hallways, toilets and lifts were filled with discarded rubbish and toilet paper. Bins overflowed and kids were seen playing in the rubbish at the usually well-kept complex. One man, flying in from Leeds/Bradford airport with his children, said: “It gives a really bad impression when you first arrive. I couldn't even go to the toilet because there was no clean toilet paper to use.” “It's really unpleasant. The standards here have slipped a lot.” Hans, from Holland, at the airport picking up friends, said it was not good for Majorcan tourism. “I think people's first impressions will not be good. This is my fifth year picking up family and friends and it's the first time I've ever seen it this bad. Usually it's spotless.” Hans travels the Mediterranean with his wife and is currently moored in Port d'Andratx, so is familiar with the island. “The prices are higher than ever here in Majorca and with this rubbish at the airport it will definitely put people off.” Pedro Cañellas, President of the Hotel Federation, responded yesterday to the strike, set to continue until Thursday. He said: “What has happened at Palma airport is scandalous. It will force people to leave the island and will definitely affect bookings.” Son San Juan airport have apologised for the inconvenience caused to passengers, but has said because it employs private contractors there is nothing that can be done to resolve the situation. The dispute surrounding the strike involves a call for increased pay by cleaners. Debbie, at the airport picking up friends, has a house in Lloseta and was surprised by what she saw when she entered the airport. “Yesterday I noticed all the trolleys had disappeared, when there's usually loads about.” “I came today and thought, oh my god, they're having a party. It's normally spotless, I couldn't believe it. What a dreadful impression to give tourists coming to the island.” Joan Flaquer, Balearic Minister for Tourism, said that the strike would seriously damage the image of the Balearics, especially in the airport, which is the main point of entry for most tourists. “Any negative effect this will have on the airport will directly affect tourism,” he said. He also called on unions and cleaning companies to pull out all the stops to reach a deal. The Head of the Balearic Association of Travel Agents, Jaume Bauza, said the strike was “deplorable” and also appealed to all parties involved to be more responsible.

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