The new government and the eco-tax
It was another week during which the new Balearic Government stole many of the headlines.
On Wednesday, we were able to report on the last speeches as part of the debate preceding Francina Armengol’s investiture on Tuesday evening. The new president, we learned, will preside over a “radically different politics”. And finally, on Friday, we could report on her swearing-in as a president, which had taken place on Thursday evening, though there remained the details of her new government: the ministerial posts and responsibilities were revealed yesterday.
Biel Barceló, the vice-president, will have ministerial control of tourism, and a key aspect of tourism policy - the eco-tax - made Tuesday’s front page. Armengol explained that the tax was an “obligation”, one for “reinvestment in the (tourism) sector” and for making the Balearics more sustainable.
Jason Moore, in that day’s Viewpoint, was not convinced of the sense of the tax: “we can’t have a controversial tax at a time when the islands are facing stiff competition”. A letter on Wednesday provided a tourist’s view of the tax. Anthony McCluskey said that “having lived through one previous set of tourist taxes, I can guarantee that my family will not be visiting Majorca again, should a new tax be introduced”.
Bicitaxis in Playa de Palma
Something else of a tourism nature which has been causing controversy is the so-called “bicitaxi” service in Playa de Palma. On Wednesday, we reported on restrictions that will be introduced in order to make this service stick to the frontline and only the frontline and to not compete with taxi-drivers.
A letter-writer from Arenal responded on Thursday to this announcement by asking “how on this earth are bicitaxis unfair competition to normal taxis or horse-drawn carriages for that matter” and suggesting that taxi-drivers “should stop whingeing”.
All tourists, and indeed residents, are probably above all mostly concerned about the weather, and summer was here with a vengeance.
On Tuesday, we advised that the Balearics could anticipate the first heatwave of the summer, which is of course precisely what we got and have: “Heat Alert” and “Red Hot Majorca” said it all, as daytime highs hit 38 (so just at the 100 Fahrenheit mark) and Soller had a nighttime high of 29C.
The heat was a matter of particular concern when it became known John Noakes had disappeared on Tuesday morning. John, who lives in Andratx and who unfortunately suffers from Alzheimer’s, had gone missing on a day when the highs were up to 35C.
He was, thankfully, found in the afternoon and taken to Son Espases hospital where he was well but dehydrated. His wife, Vicky, was able to breathe “a massive sigh or relief” and so were many others, for whom John remains a cherished memory. Indeed yesterday, Anna Nicholas summed up the relief that was felt that he was fine by describing him as a “national treasure”.
Ginbo - best bar
We are lucky at the Bulletin to be able to count Charles Harrington-Clarke among our roll call of outstanding contributors. Charles’s always informative features about cocktails - which often go beyond descriptions of their ingredients and provide historical backgrounds - appear on Sundays, and last week he looked at two entries in his “Gin League”.
In fact, these were two of the most popular gins at Ginbo in Palma, where he is one of the mixologists. And on Friday, we were delighted to report that Ginbo had been named the best bar in the Balearics by Diageo, which is the company that was created by the merger of Guinness and Grand Metropolitan in the 1990s. A key point about the award is that it doesn’t come as the consequence of a competition into which bars have been entered, so the choice is highly independent and all the more satisfying as a result.
The new government and the eco-tax
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