Alternative to Tunisia
In the immediate aftermath of the horror in Tunisia, Joan Molas, the president of the Spanish hoteliers confederation (CEHAT) said that Spain would not be an alternative for tourists. Bulgaria and Turkey would pick up holidaymakers wanting all-inclusive holidays at low prices, while Spain, he went on, cannot and should not become more competitive because of others’ misfortunes.
From what we were reporting last week, starting last Sunday, Sr. Molas’s prediction about Spain as an alternative appeared wide of the mark. On Friday, we looked at fears of overbooking in the Balearics as holidaymakers did indeed look to Spain, and not only because of events in Tunisia; there were the woes in Greece as well. No doubt some of these holidaymakers would have been seeking best-price all-inclusives, but findings from a survey by the Post Office in the UK suggested that all-inclusives don’t always end up being the bargain they might appear: not when guests become bored by the standard of food and drink on offer.

Spending by tourists
The Post Office survey, though it didn’t specifically apply to Majorca, was interesting in that it provided more precise information as to what holidaymakers were spending on what: an improvement, therefore, on the vagueness of tourist spending statistics, with which we are constantly bombarded, Tuesday in the paper being no different. A letter the following day referred to this, as the Balearics had, according to the stats, registered the highest daily tourist spend (for the first five months of a year) for the past five years, placing this spend in the context of the debate over private tourism accommodation. And this was an issue which was to the fore in what was a week dominated by tourism matters.

Tourist tax
On Thursday came news that the regional government’s vice-president and tourism minister, Biel Barceló, would not be pressing for an immediate introduction of a tourist tax because he first wanted to address the issue of the proper regulation of the private accommodation market. This was something which the Week in Tourism column on Friday suggested made sense, if the regional government is proposing following a similar route to Catalonia, where a far more permissive system of regulation than that which currently exists in the Balearics has enabled its government to benefit from extra tax revenue (Catalonia being the only region of Spain to currently have a tourist tax).
Of course, the very possibility of a tax in the Balearics is something which is bound to generate controversy, and a letter from Sean Dobson in yesterday’s edition made the point that money spent on tax would mean less money spent in other ways. Looping back to what Sr. Molas had to say, a tourist tax might be harmful to competitiveness, a point alluded to by Jason Moore on Thursday: “in these competitive times when tourists want value for money not taxes”.

The weather also continued to be a feature of the pages. On Tuesday, there were “heat worries” being expressed. And rightly so: Tuesday’s highs climbed towards the 40 degree mark in parts of the island. Though things cooled off somewhat after Tuesday, the high temperatures remain a cause of concern, with the risk of fire a worry across the whole of the country. On Friday, we referred to the “extreme risk” of blazes as the heatwave showed no sign of abating.

Sa Calobra
There again, high temperatures are not uncommon. This is summer after all, and in marking the arrival of the high season, Sunday’s “Summer Extra” featured spectacular aerial photography by Humphrey Carter of numerous parts of the Tramuntana region. Included in this was Sa Calobra and the Torrent de Pareis, which, by coincidence, was the subject of the same day’s “Enjoying Majorca” feature, which focused on the annual choral concert at the Torrent, which took place last Sunday, while - also by coincidence - Andy Rawson in his “Majorca Days Out” column wrote about the road to Sa Calobra (”the craziest road on the island”), for which the engineer responsible, Antonio Parietti, came up with the idea of a “tie knot” design.