Meanwhile, in Playa de Palma ...

03-06-2017Click

German tourists
The antics of young German tourists were for once pushing their British counterparts into the background. Since the start of the month, the beaches of Cala Agulla and Son Moll in Capdepera have been invaded by youthful Germans, showing little respect for the environment, for rules regarding drinking and noise, and for common decency. Criticisms of nude swimming were in fact not universal, as some local people advanced the cause of beach naturism, but the overwhelming reaction was one of outrage.

On Tuesday, we considered this lawlessness. It had to be seen in the context of a lack of policing. The mayor of Capdepera was under fire for the poor relations with the police force and for their low numbers: there are only two to man the beaches. While there might be some justifiable criticism, we took the view that blame should lie with tour operators and hoteliers which accept a form of tourism that brings about the types of scenes in Capdepera. They have been caused principally because of the spring-break type of vacation, and they are hardly new.

While some local media were dubbing Cala Agulla and indeed Cala Ratjada "Magalluf", we suggested that this wasn't quite accurate. It should have been "Ballermann", and there was more evidence of drunken German tourists in Arenal and the mess that is created.


Lack of police
We suggested that the Guardia Civil could be sent in to deal with the problems, and later in the week the Guardia did go in. There were simultaneous operations on the two beaches. But the point was being made that the Guardia have other things to concern themselves with. Policing beaches should really be a local police matter, but it was clear from other reports last week that Capdepera is far from alone in being under-resourced. In Muro, the reduction in police numbers could mean that some shifts are not covered this summer. In Alcudia, the town hall was attributing increased illegal selling activity on the beach to a decrease in police numbers. Last year, there were four plainclothes cops for the beach. Now there aren't any.

This police staffing problem was being attributed to the so-called Montoro Law, which places constraints on recruitment and pay. Nevertheless, in Capdepera and Muro, it was observed that police in both municipalities have in any event historically been paid less than in other towns. Officers therefore look for posts elsewhere.


Booze cruises and claims
Two other forms of tourist trouble were in the news. The ongoing scandal with false sickness claims was one, the lack of regulation of booze cruises was another. Where the latter was concerned, the government announced that it is to legislate and bring boats into line with rules for bars, restaurants and nightclubs.

Why there isn't already adequate regulation is a question frequently asked, but the "legal vacuum" that was referred to last week stems from the competing powers of different authorities. It is, unfortunately, a familiar theme.

On the claims, Tui were saying that they are having some success by sending letters to holidaymakers who are making claims and warning them that they will be liable if it is found that these claims are false. Some 50% of claims have been dropped because of this letter. Meanwhile, the Spanish hoteliers association was warning UK tour operators that "commercial relations" could be damaged if tougher action is not taken. The association was also telling tour operators that it will no longer accept deductions being automatically made to hotelier invoices in order to cover the cost of claims.

The Majorca Hoteliers Federation, very much more to the fore in the fight against false claims, was able to relax for a brief while. It was the federation's fortieth anniversary, and there was an event at the Nixe Palace Hotel in Palma to mark the occasion. It is, we noted, the most powerful of all Spain's hotel associations and it was also the first to have been formed.


From replicas to terrorism
Otherwise last week, there was the curious story about a plan to create a life-size replica (in glass) of Palma Cathedral and place it somewhere on the sea in the bay. There was yet another operation against drugs: this was centred on Puerto Alcudia, where the owner of a bar in the Alcudiamar marina was arrested.

A drone in Portocolom was apparently taking photos of nude sunbathers on a boat. There was some weather: a massive amount of rain fell on Monday, especially in the Tramuntana mountains. And there was what has become an all-too-familiar sight: authorities gathered for a minute's silence as a mark of respect for the victims of terrorism in England.

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