Palma's tourism councillor Joana Adrover and mayor José Hila at London's World Travel Market.

07-11-2016Jason Moore

All good news from the World Travel Market
The World Travel Market took place last week. What did we learn? Much of it had been signalled in advance, such as the positive state of early UK bookings for next year. Thomas Cook and Tui had both announced this a couple of weeks previously. Palma's Palacio de Congresos convention centre was presented and there was a photo opportunity for the formality of the signing with the town hall. As the town hall is a fifty per cent shareholder in the Palacio company, formality was what it was going to be. Palma said that it was in talks over further expansion of winter tourism. One reader was delighted. "Palma would be a fantastic winter break. I have been asking for winter flights for years." Calvia received confirmation of an increase in family tourism next year, something that had been mentioned in our special supplement. As for anywhere outside Palma or Calvia ... ?

The tourism ministry, or at least the Balearic Tourism Agency, was promoting winter tourism. The ministry was making much of the fact, despite this having been the focus of promotional efforts in recent years. But the tourism agency was able to reveal that it had produced a video for the joys of a winter in Majorca. You weren't wholly convinced. A video? "Yes, in Betamax." "Ah good - have they finally managed to produce a multi-lingual official website listing all winter events along with one-click booking options?"

But generally, everything was very positive. President Armengol was able to say that a nine-month season is a reality. This appeared to have become Majorcan politicians' latest on-message statement: Palma's tourism councillor, Joana Adrover, said the same thing.


The negative consequence of holiday rentals
Lurking, however, were issues that the Balearic government urgently needs to get to grips with. The hoteliers were again talking about holiday rentals. They weren't against them (which isn't what they have always said) but were calling for effective regulation. We pointed out that draft legislation had been expected by now, and we also considered the fact that a major name in the travel industry was nowhere to be seen at WTM: Airbnb is very much the focus of attention when it comes to holiday rentals and the lack of regulation.

The demand for holiday rentals, and in particular apartments, has caused problems for those seeking rental accommodation for far longer than a typical two-week holiday. Hotel workers, ten thousand of them we were told, were having to do a great deal of travelling to get to and from work because of the lack of accommodation in resorts. You weren't wholly sympathetic. For example, hoteliers should provide live-in accommodation or pay decent enough wages so that workers can afford to pay the going rate. The counter-argument was that the status quo with accommodation has been disrupted. There wasn't the problem with accommodation before the internet came on the scene.


Snow but still not enough water
It snowed on Tuesday. Not much, but enough to give a covering of snow on the highest peaks. Whenever there is snow, the internet seems to go into meltdown: the story was the most popular one on the Bulletin website last week.

The island could do with a lot more snow. And rain. Although there has been a reasonable amount of rain, it doesn't seem to be making a great deal of difference to the Tramuntana reservoirs. On Wednesday we reported that their capacity remains critical - only 26% of what it should be. Some wells are also very low.

One consequence of the lack of rain is the phenomenon of the Fonts Ufanes in Campanet. The springs have typically burst out on around thirty occasions in past years. They only appeared five times last winter.

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