Familiar but not so familiar
We were in familiar territory last week. Winter tourism, the joys of local bureaucracy and winter weather all featured strongly, and in the case of the latter, it was a familiar tale, to which those who have experienced several winters in Majorca can attest: if there’s going to be winter, then February is the month. There was even the old chestnut of voting rights for Britons living abroad. It was pretty much a full house then.
On winter tourism, there were, however, broad perspectives being offered and they came in the form of two letters.
On Tuesday, Tom Leeming issued an “Open Letter to the Balearic Ministry of Tourism” in which he made, among several other valuable points, a highly interesting comparison between Majorca and Malta. “The split between summer and winter visitors to Malta is 67% summer and 33% winter. The split for Majorca is 95% and 5%.”
He went on to observe, with justification, that Majorca has a great deal more to offer in terms of winter activities than Malta, yet Malta is able to maintain this vastly better balance between summer and winter.
 One reason for this would appear to be that Air Malta is government-owned, but whatever the reasons, the comparison was stark and said a great deal about the apparent lack of initiative, co-ordination and organisation in Majorca that would be needed to ever reach a similar summer-winter split.
On Friday, Professor David Carson in a Letter to the Editor adopted an even broader perspective in looking at marketing of tourism in Majorca in general. Suggesting that “would-be decision makers” in the island’s tourist industry “can’t see the wood for the trees”, he advocated the conducting of a “comprehensive research study” to get the views of various representative bodies, noting a case in Cala d’Or where such discussion was confined only to hoteliers and the mayor, with this research being followed by the establishment of “a cluster of industry forums ... to regenerate and develop Majorca tourism into the future”.

Driver and car bureaucracy
Last Sunday, we reported on changes to driving licence rules, a subject which should be reasonably clear. Indeed, the new rules are.
The problem is that not everyone understands them and this is a problem not just for the poor motorist, it is one for the very people who are supposed to administer licences.
On Wednesday, an amusing letter from Andy Charlton told a tale of classic right hand-left hand at Trafico. Yes he did need a Spanish licence, so he also needed to do a medical, which he took at one of the nearby centres. Having spent 60 euros for the medical (“not exactly stringent”), he returned only to be told that he didn’t need to change to a Spanish licence.
The saga continued and, happily, the new licence is now going through the system and will be delivered. Eventually.
In one of his periodic round-ups of the classic car scene in Majorca, David Whitney on Thursday discussed the bureaucracy involved in bringing classic cars to the island.
He welcomed the presence of Marga Duran, the parliamentary speaker, at a meeting of car clubs and car owners, and hoped that registration might become easier.
He criticised the regional government for having failed to recognise the benefits from car shows and other events, which could be additional tourist and visitor attractions for Majorca.

More than a little bit of weather
Well, don’t say we didn’t warn you. On Tuesday, the front page said that “the big freeze” was on its way and on Thursday and Friday there were heavy snowfalls in the mountains.
In yesterday’s edition we reported on a group of German hikers who had been trapped by snow on Thursday.
They were able to find shelter in Sa Calobra and had food and warm clothes, but with the roads back into the mountains under even heavier snow, the Guardia Civil’s helicopter and mountain rescue units airlifted them to safety.  
Related to the story of the icy weather if only by headline, we learned that the privatisation of the airports authority AENA will bring a “freeze” in airport taxes for ten years. Regional tourism minister Jaime Martinez announced this freeze, something which “none of our competitors would be able to match”. Very good.
No mention of any reductions in taxes in the off-season though, which brings us back to ...? Ah yes, winter tourism.