Michael Portillo and Chapi Ferrer: a Majorcan train journey and a Majorcan exit. Just two of the highlights last week in The Bulletin.
Trains and planes
"Nearly two million" people watched Michael Portillo's journeys to Manacor and Soller in what was unquestionably some fine BBC2 publicity for Majorca, which was - announced Sunday's front cover - able to "shine". The former Tory minister tried his hand, not too successfully, at threading pearls (the manufactured ones) and sampled marmalade as part of his tour. One wonders if the island's tourism promotion agency was watching.
While Portillo was taking to the trains, up in the sky (almost and metaphorically), we also learned last Sunday about plans that JetsGo Holidays, a new Palma-based tour operator, has for its new operation that will start at the end of May next year with a Palma-Manchester service. One its directors, Daniel Reilly, told The Bulletin that he knows that 2016 "is going to be a good year". In light of events elsewhere, he stressed that "Majorca is a traditional and safe destination".
Safety was one of the concerns of Magalluf's monitoring committee, which consists of representatives from different sectors and considers future developments and improvements. It was also, as reported on Wednesday, taking stock of a 2015 season that was described as having been a "turning point" because of the efforts of local administrations, business and the police. It was reassuring, though, to find out that the committee was fully aware of ongoing issues, in particular that of the (mugging) prostitutes. The town hall in Calvia, later in the week, revealed its budget for next year. In addition to an increase in spending on tourism promotion, there will also be more funding for the police.
Election and tourism
On a wider issue, and with the general election in Spain fast approaching, we took a look on Friday at the types of tourism messages emanating from Podemos and Ciudadanos, two parties which were not a factor in the 2011 election but most certainly will be on 20 December. The Podemos tourism spokesperson, Eric Labuske, was suggesting that the "sun-and-beach" model of tourism was "obsolete" and attacked it for having been the "main culprit" in causing seasonality, a lack of innovation and property speculation. The pro-business Ciudadanos, meanwhile, were making noises that will be welcomed by the hotel industry: a lowering of the tourist rate of IVA (VAT) that the current Partido Popular government had backtracked on.
And a week wouldn't be a week without some mention of everyone's least favourite tax topic - the tourist tax. On Thursday, we highlighted the annual awards made by the Fomento del Turismo, referred to in English as the Majorca Tourist Board. In the presence of the regional government's tourism minister, Biel Barceló, its president, Eduardo Gamero, attacked the tax, considered to be "inappropriate, unsuitable and unjust, as it will affect competitiveness and as it is affecting the image of Majorca abroad". (It needs pointing out, as confusion can sometimes apply, that the Majorca Tourist Board is a private organisation and not a government agency.)
While a report last Sunday highlighted the importance the regional government is attaching to sports tourism as a means of attracting "a quality tourism that is active, healthy, off-season and respectful of the land" (in Sr. Barceló's words), the defeat of Real Mallorca by Alaves the day before was signalling the possible end of the tenure of Albert "Chapi" Ferrer as Real Mallorca's coach. The possibility swiftly became the reality, and on Monday night, as Monro Bryce reported, the patience of the club's German owner/president, Utz Claassen, finally ran out. With Mallorca in the bottom three of the Spanish second division, Chapi's departure had become inevitable.
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