The Germanwings crash
It was one of those moments on Tuesday morning when a major incident flashed up in the newsroom and speculation was immediately rife. Initially scant information of the “horror air crash in the French Alps” was soon fleshed out, and the story of co-pilot Andreas Lubitz was being revealed. For Carol Bramley from Santa Ponsa there was a different story. It was equally tragic. Her son Paul had been on board, ,the Germanwings flig travelling from Barcelona where he had been taking a few days holiday with friends. “Paul was a kind, caring and loving son. He was the best son, he was my world.” RIP.
Three days of official mourning were declared by the Spanish Government, which led to the cancellation of all official engagements and events in the Balearics, including the conference on responsible tourism that had been due to take place in Paguera. The Majorcan Hotel Federation also called off engagements. Inmaculada de Benito of the federation described the crash as “a very sad time for the international tourist industry”.

Palma the best?
At times of such loss and sadness, brighter news for the tourist industry seemed somehow unimportant, but it was there nonetheless, and had come courtesy of The Sunday Times. On Tuesday Jason Moore thanked the paper for its accolade: Palma is the best place in the world to live. Humphrey Carter explained why he was proud to live in this best city, but the accolade did give rise to considerable debate across social media and also in the paper. On Friday Jason Moore and Ray Fleming offered differing perspectives. Is Palma really the best place? Jason had no doubts. Ray was sceptical, noting that “best of” listings “can only be very general in character”. In the Week in Tourism column on the same day, Andrew Ede noted that, as far as tourists were concerned (those whose reviews matter to Trip Advisor that is), Palma didn’t feature in the top ten of Travellers’ Choices in Europe for 2015. Istanbul was number one, while Benidorm was tenth.
Still, if there were any doubts about Palma’s claim, they were dispelled with an eight-page special in yesterday’s edition with contributions which included those from Palma’s deputy mayor, Alvaro Gijon, Heidi Stadler of leading real estate agency First Mallorca, and regular Bulletin columnists Anna Nicholas and historian Andy Rawson.

Joan Bennàssar
There was another special on Friday. This one highlighted the extraordinary exhibition in Cala Ratjada that was officially inaugurated yesterday. It features eleven sculptures by the Pollensa-based artist Joan Bennàssar, these being female figures which evoke an ancient Majorcan past.
 The open-air exhibition on the resort’s promenade is representative of a trend towards offering “emotional and unique experiences in public spaces”. The exhibition was also given prominence in our Tuesday What’s On section, which has been expanded in order to give greater information about events across the island.

Hyatt’s luxury resort
Of new developments for tourism, that of Meliá in Magalluf has dominated the agenda, leaving others which have rather slipped under the radar. On Sunday Humphrey Carter spoke with John Beveridge, who is the newly appointed general manager of the luxury Park Hyatt Mallorca resort which will open in Canyamel next year. John explained that the complex is being created to “evoke a Majorcan hilltop village” and, with sustainable and responsible tourism being the theme that it now is, he emphasised the fact that Hyatt is “very keen” to involve the local community and to ensure that there will be as much sourcing of local produce as possible.

The Andalusia election
Jason Moore reminded the international community yesterday of the need to register votes in the elections in May. Though for most this means only being able to vote in town hall elections, regional and national politics have their influence locally. In Andalusia last Sunday, PSOE came first in the regional election there. Did it offer an indication as to how subsequent votes might go? Yes and no. Andalusia is unusual in having only ever known PSOE governments, but the socialist party suffered a fall in its share of the vote, while the Partido Popular lost 17 seats in the parliament and newcomers Podemos and Ciudadanos together had 25% of the share of the vote.