Mikael Landström (right) with the president of the Balearic tennis federation, Toni Ferragut, the president of Palma's sports institute, Susanna Moll, and Majorca's Carlos Moya.

06-10-2015Javier Temes

Veteran tennis stars, veteran film director and what might be described as veteran Bulletin topics, they were all to the fore over the past week.

Tennis and the winter season
Humphrey Carter's Sunday interview was with Mikael Landström who, together with wife Johanna, is behind the ATP Champions Tour Legends Cup at the Palma Sport and Tennis Club that finishes today. In fact, we learned a great deal more about Mikael and the involvement he and his wife have had with hotels in Puerto Soller and Palma since the mid-1990s. With a background in the travel and tourism industry - SAS, Sunwing, Airtours - Mikael was well placed to offer some broader views of Majorca's tourism, and he outlined the potential, spoken of often enough, for sports tourism breaking the impasse of the winter season. "More and more people are coming here to be active." It is a message that seems to be getting through, a report into cycling tourism yesterday indicating that this niche generates more than 150 million euros and brings some 160,000 tourists to the island. But though cycling is an all-winter sport, it remains the case that for some three months (November to January) there is little of it, save for the appearances on the island's roads of teams in training, such as Team Sky.

As ever, this brought us to one of those "veteran" topics - winter flights and the lack of them. On Tuesday, we reported that José Hila, the mayor of Palma, was keen to do something about the absence of flights, and he and the city's tourism councillor had met with Maria Jose Hidalgo of Air Europa (Globalia) and with Alvaro Middelmann, a former president of the Majorca Tourist Board and advisor to Globalia's chairman. Hila observed that "all the hard work which has and is going on in establishing Palma as a first-rate city-break destination is, to a certain extent, wasted during the winter because of the lack of flights".


Oliver Stone
A different type of veteran, in more ways than one, was on the island to promote both a book and a film. Oliver Stone, veteran of films he has directed such as "Platoon" - the subject of a public symposium at Palma's CineCiutat - and also a Vietnam veteran, gave a candid interview with the media that was highlighted yesterday in which he described ex-Spanish premier, Jose Maria Aznar, as George W. Bush's lapdog, criticised President Obama for having exaggerated the war on terror and asserted that "the problem with this world is the United States".


Dog mess
It wasn't a lapdog that concerned letter-writer Margaret Philips on Thursday but the activities of dogs. Yes, it was that other veteran subject - dog mess - and Margaret suggested (viz. Santa Ponsa) that "whatever improvements are made in the town, and specifically to the coastal walkways, will be pointless unless the dreadful problem of dog fouling in all public areas is addressed". On the evidence of the past three weeks, it would seem that Portals, Puerto Pollensa and Santa Ponsa are the places most blighted with this problem, with Santa Ponsa now edging it. Anywhere else?


Help-yourself alcohol
All-inclusives would also fall into the veteran topic category, but it is a recent innovation that is currently arousing most interest - that of self-service alcohol. President Armengol was reported as saying that "excessive consumption of alcohol is something which the tourism ministry is looking to control", with the self-service aspect in some hotels high on the list of things to regulate. The following day, Andrew Ede suggested that the self-service issue was a red herring, one for the government to single out in respect of all-inclusive regulation, "while ignoring any other regulation".

The government, meanwhile, was assessing its first hundred days in office, President Armengol emphasising that there was a need for a "common front" to get Madrid to bring about a new system of financing for the Balearics - probably the principal theme of the 100 days. Vice-President Barceló, in talking about a "new social and economic model", said that the tourist tax was essential for boosting tourism that prizes "quality, innovation and sustainability". He didn't say anything about dog mess.

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