By Andrew Ede
Terrorism and cruise shipping
Awful events in a foreign land not so far away shocked us once again, and for Majorcan cruise passengers they could have been more awful. “Another ten minutes and it could have been us ...” These were the words of one of those passengers, describing in yesterday’s paper how, as they had been on a different bus, they had avoided being a target for the terrorists. Their cruise ship was the Costa Fascinosa, and Costa Cruises announced that, as a consequence of the terrorist attack, it would be removing Tunisia from its Mediterranean itineraries. It was not the only cruise operator to take this decision, one that will benefit Palma and Majorca. But this was not cause for celebration. Anything but.
It was coincidental, however, that in previous days we had looked at how Palma was getting ready for what is expected to be the port’s best cruise season ever. This news came from the annual cruise shipping trade fair in Miami at which the Balearic Ports Authority was able to announce that Palma has 546 cruise ships booked this year. On Friday, we reported on plans to invest nearly 15 million euros on a new terminal in Palma for superliners. This investment will increase to 30 million the amount being spent on the port; vital, it was said, for the future of Majorca’s cruise industry.
Investment in a different area of tourism was highlighted on Sunday, Humphrey Carter taking a look at the BH Mallorca hotel in Magalluf, which is a beneficiary of provisions in Balearic tourism legislation which allow the general public to make use of so-called secondary activities within hotel grounds (in the case of BH Mallorca, this will include its water park). On Wednesday, we were informed that this legislation was entering its final stage. The “new tourism law” will come into effect just before the start of the summer season. This all seemed rather confusing as we had been under the impression that the “new” law had been finalised and approved in 2012.
Palma’s conference centre
Ever more investment - of sorts - was being put into Palma’s Palacio de Congresos conference centre and hotel. The results of the first phase of bidding to operate the Palacio were announced on Friday, the two contenders - hotel groups Meliá and Barceló - both having opted to take out an option to purchase the hotel and to rent the conference centre. But also on Friday, we wondered how successful the conference centre - now due to open in October - might be. As conferences are typically not held during the main summer months, there would be the inevitable issue of flights. Will the conference centre, therefore, be primarily one for the Spanish market? With an absence of international flights in the off-season, Palma may lack appeal to the international conference market.
Reality TV in Majorca
Ses Salines and its Colonia Sant Jordi tourist resort may be the beneficiary of British reality TV; indeed, so might the whole of Majorca. Love Island will be returning to British television screens later this year, and the preferred location for a programme of a different style to the one that was axed nine years ago is a part of Sa Carrotja in Ses Salines. Local residents have expressed some concerns regarding the filming, but we could see little good reason for it not being filmed there, especially as production crews are highly assiduous in returning locations that they use to excellent condition.
Easter tourism and chocolate
With Easter approaching, we were told that 80% of Majorca’s hotels will be open over Easter, a percentage that Andrew Ede queried yesterday. Where are these 80%, because if Alcudia is typical, the percentage is considerably lower - approximately 45%. Whatever tourism Easter will be serving up, the festivities will also mean the serving of food. On Thursday, Andrew Valente looked at food traditions at Easter and in particular the role that the humble egg has to play. It didn’t used to have much of a role but it is one that has grown in popularity, assisted by the Catalan pastry, the “mona”, which has ceased to be a pastry and is now an all-chocolate affair that is “more of an elaborate piece of sculpture”.
The return of Albert Riera
The Easter period has long been one of frantic activity for English football - when isn’t it frantic? - but Spanish football is, in all sorts of ways, less frantic. Easter is not a make-or-break period as it might be in England, but Real Mallorca are nevertheless entering a crucial stage of the season with hopes having been raised of attaining a play-off position. The return to the club of one-time Spanish international, Albert Riera, has added to these hopes. On Friday, in a lengthy interview by Francisco Cortez, Riera looked back at his time with Liverpool and forward to ambitions for Real Mallorca, on which “he is completely focused”.
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