Mayor Rodríguez, tourism councillor García, special projects director Joan Mesquida - Calvia met with ABTA and the director of Spain's tourism office in London.

21-10-2015

Inevitably, that tax continued its dominance of the news pages last week, while Calvia was unavoidable. Who would ever think that there are other tourist resort municipalities in Majorca?

Calvia on tour
Members of the town hall in Calvia were on tour last week. The councillor for tourism, Antonio García, turned up in the Netherlands for the police indoor football tournament and suggested that "these kinds of events are the future of tourism in Calvia" (there is of course the annual tournament in Santa Ponsa in early May). By this, he meant a future with a prolonged season, a factor in which is the old chestnut of flights. "Why are there eighteen daily flights to Palma from Germany and none from outside of London?" was a question he posed in Humphrey Carter's interview with him on Sunday.

Well, there are flights, it just depends which part of winter you're talking about. But yesterday we learned that there is to be a "massive rise in winter flights to Britain", and so one hopes that there will be a massive rise going the other way as well. We referred to the flights that Jet2 Holidays are adding (for city-break weekends), something which provoked comments on our website which observed that, while they might be coming from Manchester and Leeds in February, they wouldn't be coming from Edinburgh until March. A not unfamiliar tale of woe, therefore.

Following his stop-off in the Netherlands, García was in London as part of a Calvia delegation that was to meet the British press prior to the World Travel Market early next month. The days of "yob tourism" were over, the mayor, Alfonso Rodríguez, informed the likes of "The Sun" and "The Telegraph". García did have time to return for a meeting with the Palmanova-Magalluf Hoteliers' Association, where he and Rodríguez announced their confidence that "the bad old days of Magalluf were over". The president of the association said that there had been a three per cent increase in family tourism and a 2.6% drop in youth tourism.

Back on the website, readers needed some convincing. Youth tourism should not be completely abolished was one observation (Cursach, by the way, have now announced a further hotel project for Magalluf - a BCM-themed one), while the prostitute/mugger issue was once more highlighted as a reason for reserving judgement on the changes in the resort.


Tourist tax - unconvincing
There were those who also required convincing when it came to the tourist tax. On Wednesday, we reported that tourism minister Barceló was saying that the environment will be a priority for how it is spent (which seemed like just the latest shift of emphasis from the minister). The Partido Popular's Maria Jose Ribas called on Barceló and the government to "not improvise" with the tax (which is how it has seemed).

Meanwhile, the villas agencies were letting their views be known. In the same Wednesday edition the association for tourist villa businesses was saying that it believed that the tax would be "unfair" on account of all the unregulated properties which will presumably escape payment. The association was also seeking clarity as to the logistics of tax collection. So, it might be said, is everyone.

Friday's Viewpoint by Jason Moore suggested that the fuss about the tax was "much ado about nothing", citing examples of what the tax will cost that the ministry is to include in the supplement we have produced for the World Travel Market. It was this which provoked comments by those unconvinced about the tax. Barceló had yet to produce exact figures (there is still no clarity, for instance, about what might be the maximum number of days to which it applies), while examples other than the ones Barceló and the ministry have chosen to highlight will amount to very much more.

Still, despite the tax, as we were able to report last Sunday, directors of Spain's tourism offices in London, Berlin and Stockholm were saying that "Balearic tourism will continue to benefit from competitor instability". And all the evidence suggests that this will be the case next year. So, will the tax prove to be much ado about nothing? Time will tell.

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