Christmas was coming early, work stopped, everyone was talking weather and there was other talk about holiday rentals. Another week in The Bulletin.
Shopping fever Black Friday, a shopping phenomenon almost unheard of in Majorca up until three years ago, proved to be anything but black as Majorca's retailers got the early Christmas habit "big time". The El Corte Inglés department stores, we discovered on Thursday, were leading the way with major discounts, and "even car showrooms (were) getting in on the act". It was "Black Friday fever", we learned yesterday, as the black skies of near winter were illuminated not just by all the shop fronts that were lit up until late into the evening but also by Palma's Christmas lights, which were switched on during Black Friday.
Cold and hot
The weather was fortunately kind for this shopping bonanza but hadn't been earlier in the week. "Snow alert" was the warning last Sunday, while gale force winds of up to 120kph were battering the island. Majorca had frozen by the time we got to Tuesday, with slightly below zero having been registered overnight in Escorca in the mountains, while in the lower mountains (Bunyola) the thermometer struggled to top the zero mark at a time of year when, so the Aemet weather agency assured us, nighttime levels are normally around nine degrees. This was, of course, the same agency which had suggested the island's Indian summer would be unbroken until 6 December. The weather was such that a comment on our website intimated that it might not be conducive to winter tourism. But for summer tourism there are no such doubts. Yesterday it was revealed that 2015's summer was the "hottest on record" in Spain.
Hoteliers and tax
With thoughts of summer tourism, there were issues, as ever, for the Balearic tourism ministry to concern itself with. Majorca's hoteliers had sought to get themselves involved with parliamentary debate on the tourist tax. Potential for them to do so, they believed, existed in an article of parliament's governance to allow those "expert" in a subject to offer opinion and advice. This wasn't strictly so, as an invitation has to be extended. Meanwhile, certain politicians took umbrage at the suggestion, David Abril of the Més party noting - as reported on Wednesday - that the hoteliers "were unused to not getting their way".
Zones for holiday rentals
The government was also concerning itself with holiday rentals, a proposal being that regulation of these will allow town halls to decide as to which parts of their municipalities can be zoned to permit them. It seemed, as noted on Friday, a somewhat confusing proposal. Nevertheless, the importance of arriving at a sensible arrangement for holiday rentals was emphasised by a report on Wednesday which highlighted the enormous scale of the market - 4,300 million euros across Spain in the past two years, with a good chunk of it having been in the Balearics. The figure had come from a survey conducted for the HomeAway rentals' portal, which might not be wholly independent in the matter, though the survey suggested that hotel and holiday rental businesses could co-exist in harmony.
The Palacio saga
With prospects for Palma seemingly never having been so good, there is one blot on the landscape, the city's Palacio de Congresos convention centre. With work very nearly finished, it was time for the main contractor, Acciona, to down tools in a dispute over unpaid compensation and an extension of the deadline for completion. The tourism minister, Biel Barceló, declared himself "fed up" with the delays, while we observed that everyone was fed up because "they long ago got fed up with the sheer sorrow of the saga".