Watching the detectives
Will this be this summer's sport? Is that chap in a heavy overcoat and a trilby hat a tourist or is he a private detective? Jet2 didn't say how its detectives will be dressed or indeed how many of them there will be, but the tour operator is to adopt a more proactive approach to dealing with the so-called claims' farmers who are active in resorts. It might be noted that efforts to get UK holidaymakers to issue false claims are by no means limited to the presence of these characters in resorts - they use social media as well - but they aren't difficult to spot when they do turn up. And if a "claims clinic" ambulance of the type that has been in Tenerife rolls into town, then they'll be even easier to identify.
Jet2 was seemingly taking the sort of lead that Spanish hoteliers were critical of not having been shown by Abta. The association, in the views of some hoteliers, has been tolerating the claims. Tour operators, meanwhile, apparently haven't revealed all claims lodged with them (some 10,000) for fear that these might jeopardise contractual negotiations with hoteliers: it is the hotels which pick up the tab under the Ts and Cs of the contractual small print.
Abta may well have been jolted into greater involvement by the interest shown in the issue by the British Embassy. Whatever the reasons, the hoteliers welcomed the fact that there is to be a "summit" with Abta in Madrid later this month.
The myths of Airbnb
Two researchers at the University of the Balearic Islands published a study which challenged "myths" surrounding holiday rentals and Airbnb in particular. They attributed the growth of rentals not to Airbnb but to the Arab Spring and to security issues in other parts of the Mediterranean and showed, among other things, that the level of income generated by holiday rentals isn't particularly high.
While we observed that it was an important piece of research, we questioned certain aspects. The study's figures for Airbnb accommodation in Majorca in August last year bore strong resemblance to those previously given by environmental activists Terraferida for January 2016. If the university's figures in fact lent support to Terraferida, then the study was silent on the fact that Terraferida subsequently revealed an 80% increase in the number of Airbnb rentals' places in Majorca between January 2016 and March this year.
A piece of local ordinance resurfaced. Palma town hall was last year forced to drop a bylaw with wide-ranging provisions to control behaviour. This was because of a successful legal challenge and a court decision that the town hall had exceeded its powers. One of those provisions was to have been the "bikini law", so-called because it would have made it obligatory to wear a top anywhere in the city apart from the front lines immediately by beaches in resorts. It was a measure that attracted a great deal of comment, especially in the German media.
The bikini law is now to be reintroduced along with other measures, e.g. preventing organised bar crawls.
The hoteliers' associations in Paguera and Santa Ponsa attacked Calvia town hall's tourism promotion strategy and apparent lack of investment in those resorts. They argued that the town hall had been favouring Magalluf to the exclusion and detriment of Calvia's other tourist destinations.
Their criticisms felt as though they were long overdue, not least the charge that Magalluf appears to be undergoing a rebranding as "Calvia". The town hall, hardly surprisingly, rejected the hoteliers' points, drawing attention to investment that is being made but not addressing the complaints about the promotion strategy.
The fire season begins
The environment ministry made not one but two announcements regarding the start of the summer forest fire campaign. It pointed to increased personnel, more means of fighting fires, such as the helicopters, and to enhanced protection equipment for personnel. Unfortunately, whatever the awareness-raising efforts might be, fires inevitably start. And there was one - in Alcudia - on the very first day of the campaign.
Watching the detectives
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