Mixed messages about the summer’s tourism
“Rapidly coming out of its winter hibernation”, Majorca’s tourism industry was looking forward rather than backwards. A “record Easter” was promised, though hopes for the summer season as a whole were being played down because of news from the Berlin ITB tourism fair. As reported on Wednesday, there had been a “low-key start to the peak holiday booking season” in Germany. President Bauzá and tourism minister Martínez were in Berlin and on Thursday we learned that they and the delegation from the Balearics had been “keen to learn from the Germans what changes and improvements (could) be made to what the Balearics have to offer holidaymakers”. As ever, there tends to be conflicting evidence as to how the season will be, so on Friday highly positive news of Hotelbeds’ UK bookings was reported: Majorca was among the destinations most in demand.
Anti-social behaviour measures in Magalluf
The German market was probably not over concerned with matters in Magalluf, but - and with the season edging ever closer - Calvia’s Town Hall swung into prohibitive action and confirmed that there would be a ban on drinking alcohol on the streets of the resort between 10p.m. and 8a.m. as well as tough restrictions on pub crawls. Jason Moore, while applauding the council’s efforts to improve Magalluf, voiced a concern that they may “have gone too far” and that there was “a real danger that they could be taking the fun out of Magalluf”.
Meanwhile, the reporting of the Magalluf measures in parts of the British media was not entirely accurate. There were suggestions of a total ban on drinking, which raised a question as to how the announcement from Calvia could have been so misinterpreted. ABTA, the Association for British Travel Agents, sought clarification and did so by contacting The Bulletin. This reporting also led Angie Guerrero to yesterday refer to “Chinese whispers at their best”, so Angie - as a councillor in Calvia - rightly set the record straight as to what the new laws encompass.
Investment for cruise shipping
Cruise shipping continues to play an important part in Majorca’s tourism economy with Palma the fourth busiest port in the Mediterranean. The director-general of ports and airports in the Balearics, Antonio Deudero, announced that there will be a further 90 million euros’ worth of investment in Palma’s port, and he also noted the level of spend by cruise passengers who are not travelling on an all-inclusive package. It is 75 euros per day, a figure that rises when they are in port. What he didn’t mention, though, was how many passengers are cruising all-inclusive.
Further to the cruising story, it looks as though Palma will get a significant boost from the super liner Splendour of the Seas operating out of the port next year. The ship has been leased to Thomson Cruises and with a capacity of over 1,800 passengers, it will become the largest in the Thomson fleet.
Unemployment down - or was it?
Some more positive news was reflected in the latest jobs figures. Unemployment in the Balearics was down in February, almost 9,000 fewer people being out of work compared with the same month in 2014. While the total unemployed in the Balearics is still high - 80,000 - the figure has come down from one of close to 90,000 last year. However, it was suggested that lower unemployment is a factor of foreign workers leaving the Balearics and of the number of people who are no longer entitled to state benefits and who have therefore signed off.
For The Bulletin, the past few days have been ones of mixed emotions. A highly successful lunch at Marc Fosh’s Misa restaurant on Thursday launched our new Subscribers Club. But on the same day, The Bulletin and Majorca lost a legendary figure. News of the death of Riki Lash inspired an avalanche of messages of condolence and remembrance on our Facebook page. They confirmed how well-loved and how admired Riki had been. Yesterday, Jason Moore, who knew Riki for almost thirty years, paid a wonderful and heartfelt tribute to “a dear friend, a great colleague, a loyal servant to this newspaper and a great character”. Jason looked back at Riki’s life on the island, at his association with many celebrities, at his radio as well as newspaper work and at the official honours he had received.
The anecdotes and the memories will doubtless continue as thousands upon thousands recall a remarkable life, a celebration of which will be held at the Anglican Church in Palma’s Calle Nuñez de Balboa at 4p.m. on Tuesday. RIP.
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