Lights go on
Christmas finally arrived, and the lights went on in Palma. Last Sunday's edition was duly full of festive scenes in the capital, where one lucky winner scooped the Euromillions jackpot and made it a very merry Christmas indeed. The season of good cheer wasn't evident everywhere, such as in Pollensa, where the town hall was being criticised for its failure to switch the lights on. It was a bit of a fuss about nothing, and the lights went on yesterday.
Goats in Pollensa
Pollensa was the location for a story that took our website and social media by storm. The Council of Majorca's decision to authorise a cull of goats in Puerto Pollensa was met with a high degree of outrage. Voices of those in favour of the cull (or those who were at least understanding of its necessity) were largely drowned out. We drew attention to the views of the environmentalist group GOB which, although promoting relocation of goats, had expressed support for actions taken on the island of Es Vedra to limit the goat population. Given the different locations, the cases aren't exactly the same, but the point that GOB was making was that over-population can cause harm to the general ecosystem.
Air transport in Majorca
The airports authority Aena was condemned by the Majorca Chamber of Commerce for not releasing airport financial performance information; something which it had been doing up to 2014. The Chamber felt that this was all linked to the likely further privatisation of Aena (its shares have done very well since going to market in 2015) and believed that the information was being hidden, as it could offer ammunition for demands for airport co-management: ones that have repeatedly been made by the Balearic government.
The vital need for good air transport was highlighted by the ongoing row over a change to the residents' discount, which will make group travel more expensive. It was also referenced by the government, as it continued to press the case for a new economic regime for the Balearics. Meanwhile, the government was experiencing problems getting its budget through parliament. The final vote on this will be 22 December, but the crisis within Podemos - two of its deputies expelled by the party, one of them being the speaker - has had an impact on budget agreements.
A specific item in the budget that Podemos object to is the amount allocated for tourism promotion. The party wants virtually all of the 3.6 million euros to be diverted to innovation and research. The government says it can't do this, as there are commitments which need to be met, such as paying for travel fairs, attendance at which has already been agreed.
The Podemos attitude was summed up the party's general secretary, Alberto Jarabo, who called - somewhat ominously - for there to be "containment" of tourists. Spending on promotion, in his view, is a waste of money, and the government should be doing what it can to limit tourist numbers and not increase them.
Hotels and fines in Calvia
This increase was reflected by the news that hotels in Santa Ponsa and Paguera will be opening earlier. In the case of Santa Ponsa this will be in March, whereas they have typically remained closed until May. Paguera's hotels have been opening earlier anyway, but more will be added to the number, and many will open in February.
The early-arriving tourists next year need to be aware of what constitutes behaviour liable to a fine. Calvia added further items to its "co-existence" bylaw. Illegal street selling, drinking in the streets and such like were already covered, but now there can be fines for, for example, climbing trees or picking flowers. As ever with news of this nature from Calvia, reactions bordered on the incredulous. Fines for picking flowers but what about the prostitutes? What indeed.
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