Yes ... it’s winter flights!
It is time for all good tourism niches to come to the aid of the winter flights’ party. This was how it seemed when on Thursday we discovered that Majorca’s golfing fraternity had emerged from its bunker, “complaining of a severe lack of golfers during the winter”.
It was all due to the lack of flights from the UK. At the same time, yacht clubs, when not taking preventative measures against force sevens lashing waves over the moorings, were “ruing the fact that they would be busier if travelling to Majorca during the winter was easier”. (Note, seas are also calm, and typically so in December and January.) As ever, the cause of the absent-flight malaise was sought.
This time it was the Balearic Government’s fault for “for facilitating the winter closure of so many hotels”.
Wherever the fault lies, the letters kept up the momentum in favour of our campaign for more flights by highlighting the lack of momentum by the airlines. On Sunday we were reminded that Dublin is deprived as well as Scotland.
Come Tuesday it was the Midlands joining the protest, as was the case on Wednesday, when the lack of flights further south (from Luton) were also added to the No Flights Hall of Shame. Meanwhile, the difficulties with flights the other way - from Majorca to Scotland - was the subject for Majorca’s number 1 Elvis tribute, Iain Elvis Duncan, for whom bookings in Scotland in winter are now particularly awkward. And then on Thursday, it was the south of England and the lack of an alternative to the easyJet Gatwick flight.
All in all, not what you could call a particularly positive picture, but to the rescue amidst this gloom came Jason Moore.
In the Thursday Viewpoint he detected “a real move towards making Majorca a winter holiday destination”. And Amen to that. To everyone who has taken the time to write to us, we thank you, and let’s keep up the pressure.
There was some further positivity, and this was in the form of the second tourism convention in Majorca that is concerned with finding ways of lengthening the season.
As we reported on Tuesday, the convention was “going to involve all sectors of the local tourist industry from small businesses, to tour operators, travel agents, hoteliers and the main airlines”. Which is how it should be.
Winter flights represent one persistent problem for Majorca’s tourism. All-inclusives are another, and they, along with a problem from the past - the unlamented eco-tax - were forcing their way onto the political agenda.
Tourism minister Jaime Martínez, as reported on Friday, is apparently going to seek “rigorous” control of all-inclusives. And how was he proposing doing this? By creating a register of all-inclusive hotels. Quite how this will translate into rigorous control was not entirely clear, but the complementary offer (tourist businesses which aren’t hotels) seemed happy enough with the move.
As for the eco-tax (or tourist tax or call it what you will), this, as we explained on Thursday, is flavour of the moment among the left-leaning political parties which could well find themselves forming the next regional government. These parties are aware that Catalonia’s tourist tax doesn’t seem to have caused any harm to Catalonia’s tourism, but there is still a great risk for Majorca in terms of the type of negative publicity that arose when the old eco-tax existed.
Well, we all love a baby story, and the arrival of the Branson granddaughter had everyone cooing and aahing. It also caused panic in the newsroom, for the name was Eva-Deia, though the house style is Deya.
In addition, it brought back into focus Sir Richard’s less-than-happy exit from Majorca on account of obstacles to development created by the council of Banyalbufar.
“Majorca made fools of themselves by playing hardball with Branson when he wanted to develop” and so lost someone who could have been a prime advocate for Majorca. Still, the relationship does live on, and Eva-Deia is evidence of this. And just on this, might there be baby naming opportunities for other villages?
Lloret perhaps, Selva sounds quite nice, or maybe Arta for a boy. On balance, Buger, probably not.
But might some of these villages disappear? On Wednesday, we learned that the UPyD party was proposing reducing the number of Majorca’s municipalities from the current 53 to a mere 12. The potential cost savings would be vast.
Jason Moore suggested that “fewer but more effective” town halls sounded great. Such a move would be highly pragmatic, though one suspects that there is more chance of hell freezing over than the villages giving up their town halls.
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