By Ray Fleming

 

Magalluf

There has been no shortage of Letters to the Editor about the Magalluf crisis but one that looked at the problem from a rather different perspective came from a Belgian couple writing from Puerto Soller. After a few practical suggestions for solving the situation the letter ended with this: "Or, keep Magalluf for what it’s worth but make a big wall of 5 metres high around it, let people in but don’t let them out until their bus comes and picks them up at the end of the holiday and escorts them to the airport." No doubt the Belgian observers of the British trouble-makers had their tongues in their cheeks while writing that counsel of despair but it did seem to catch a general feeling that the affair is seriously out of control.

In his feature The week in tourism, also on Friday, Andrew Ede said that the Magalluf story had "spun out of control, certainly out of control of the island’s tourism chiefs and Calvia Town Hall. "In public relations terms, " he said, "Majorca has been brought to its knees, gagging on a short video that has become the butt of jokes and manna from heaven for the media." He expressed amazement at the incomprehension of what was involved and needed to put matters right by those responsible. He was particulary scathing about the plan for a media campaign in the UK to encourage tourists to come to Majorca while at the same time telling them to behave themselves. Andrew Ede’s instincts on that costly proposal were proved right when it ws announced that it had been put on ice for the moment.

During the week there were daily front-page headlines on the Magalluf crisis in the Bulletin but anyone who doubted the seriousness of its implicationw will probably have been persuaded by Wednesday’s report that the

British Ambassador to Spain, Simon Manley, and the British Consul General to the Balearics, Andrew Gwatkin, had held conversations in Madrid with the Spanish Secretary of State for Toursim and the Balearfic Miniser for Tourism. It is, of course, easy to be wise after the event in matters of this kind but in his Viewpoint the Bulletin’s editor Jason Moore recalled that the problems now being faced in Magalluf were predicted at the World Travel Market Tourism event last winter and that the Spanish and Balearic governments promised at the time that there would be a crackdown to stop Magalluf becoming a "trouble resort". One thing is sure; It can be said that in relation to the Magalluf issue "crackdown" has become an over-used and almost meaningless word.

Helping with English

There was a positive note for a change in the controversial area of language teaching in Majorca’s schools. The dispute between local schooteachers and the Balearic government over the controversial TIL trilanguage curriculum has still not been settled but an initative by the government’s Balearic European Centre has set up a scheme whereby English expatriates can give on-the-spot help to Spanish language teachers who may have had inadequate preparation for their English classes. Kate Mentinck, the deputy director of the Centre is behind this development and in an inerview with Humphrey Carter she encouraged English speakers with a basic level of Spanish to volunteer to help at their local primary school. The standard is "conversational English" rather than an academic approach but the outcome will be greater confidence for the teachers and widening horizons for the children. Those interested should contact Kate Mentinck at the Centre at "info@kate.es".

Visitors from Hollywood

The Saturday Looking Backfeature unearths some interesting gems from the past. In July 1999 the Hollywood actor and special envoy for the United Nations, Michael Doouglas, was on one of his periodical visits to Majorca, this time to promote his Costa Nord project for Valldemosa. At a local press conference, however, he was asked only about the latest famous people he was bringing to visit Majorca, but would reply only "I bring lots of friends to the island". He was probably being teased by the press because the Bulletin had already reported: "The most recent star to visit is Catherine Zeta-Jones, Welsh actress and current girtlfriend of the actor, director and producer. She is said to be as taken with the island as with Douglas."

For Sale

On a sadder note another famous lady’s connection with Majorca was revealed with the news that Castillo Mallorca which Princess Diana had once used as a hideaway had been put on the market for a cool thiry-eight million euros. For those interested, the property is superbly set on a private peninsula near Puerto Andratx, commands spectacular views. has a docking area of up to thirty metres and a private cave - just for starters. The agents Engel & Volkers say it is the most expensive front-line villa on the iskand.

Sports page

There were two constrating sporting items during the week. The Council of Majorca agreed unanimously to name Rafael Nadal " Majorca’s Favourite Son" for his "distimguished sporting, human and cultural values demonstrated onand off the course the courts". Few, if any, will question that decision; it is probably true to say that Nadal’s international reputation is such that expatriates are as proud of him as his own people.

Of a different order was the news that Serra Ferra, the main shareholder of Real Mallorca football club had resigned following the club’s poor form of recent years. Ferrer admitted having committed "serious mistakes" during his time but also took the opportunity of criticising the club’s "ruinous management".

In brief

The nine-months conviction of Jaume Matas, the former Partido Popular president of the Balearics, for improper use of his influence and other offences was confirmed when his final appeal to central government for an official pardon was rejected. Matas is also implicated in a number of other corruption cases including those in which the Princess Cristina and her husband are involved.

 

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