The Lluc-Soller road was one that needed to be closed, while there was advice for drivers to use snow chains. | Miquel A. Cañellas


A week of weather
You might have noticed that there was some weather last week. On Tuesday we issued our own snow warning, and the snow didn't let us down. Or did it? Such had been the forecasts that sea-level Majorca was looking forward to snowball fights. What fell was hardly what might be called snow. In the mountains, however, it was a different matter: roads and schools needed to be closed.

And after the snow came the gales and the rain. There was more flooding in areas flooded in December, such as Campos, and the weather played havoc with the January fiestas. Palma's correfoc fire-run was postponed, while animal blessings that had to be abandoned earlier in the week and rearranged for today may have to be put off again. Aemet assured us that there will be an improvement by Wednesday.

Rentals and saturation
The holiday rentals' debate (argument) was in full swing. With the Aptur association having lodged some 300 objections to the proposed Balearic legislation, the rival force - the hoteliers - landed in Madrid for the Fitur fair and found an ally in the national secretary of state for tourism, Matilde Asián. The power of the lobby was such, as we noted, that an army of Majorca/Balearic hotelier representatives photographed with Asián could have been substituted by equal numbers from different hotel groups. Asián said that the government was looking at introducing legislation to harmonise regulations in the different regions, and if she needed any reminder of who the hoteliers have singled out as a particular target, she was given it. "Collaborative hosting", e.g. Airbnb, was firmly on the agenda.

The hoteliers then informed us, as if we really needed to be, that there will be another summer of "saturation" in the Balearics. They were saying that all places had been sold, so the saturation will be the consequence of holiday rentals, be they legal or otherwise. We noted that the rentals will therefore be meeting demand that the hoteliers can't meet, and the same point wasn't lost on some of you. As an example: "Can someone explain if all the hotels are full why are the hotels complaining about rentals? As I understand it they are not taking business from the hotels if they are full."

In Palma, meanwhile, the town hall had raised its objections to the rentals' legislation and was wanting it to stipulate that there must unanimity among owners in communities on holiday lets; the government is proposing that there is a majority decision. The town hall, acknowledging that its proposal would run up against national law, was also wanting the Balearic parliament to be in a position to amend this law itself.

And adding his voice to the whole saga was the national tourism minister Álvaro Nadal, who was concerned by the "tourismphobia" being whipped up by certain political groups and sectors of the media. "It is one thing to regulate a sector (tourism) and another to demonise it to the point of wanting to get rid of it."

The risks of TripAdvisor
A story that provoked a good deal of reaction concerned a judge's ruling that Macarena de Castro of the Michelin-starred Restaurant Jardín in Alcudia should have to pay 6,000 euros compensation to someone who had posted a critical review on TripAdvisor. Castro had responded to the criticism and, in the judge's estimation, had "violated the complainant's rights to honour and privacy". Just one of your observations was: "It works both ways on TripAdvisor. Customer and service provider are free to express opinions that stay within the law, so why fine somebody for doing just that?" The judge, it appeared, had decided that Castro had strayed beyond the law.