In the past few days, two particular reports have appeared in the British media with two very similar headlines stating an "end of an era" for Majorca. These reports were in The Sun and The Express and have been shared widely on social networks.
Under "ADIOS! End of an era as Brits ABANDON Majorca after hundreds of ‘arrogant locals’ demand holidaymakers go home", The Sun published comments by holidaymakers who are prepared to abandon the island after a backlash from arrogant locals. In The Express there were similar comments under the headline "ADIOS MAJORCA: End of an era as Britons HATED by ‘arrogant locals’ start leaving isle".
In The Sun there was not an acknowledgement as to the source of these comments. In The Express there was: the Majorca Daily Bulletin. The Express claimed that the Bulletin had interviewed holidaymakers and had therefore specifically elicited their opinions. This is untrue. The comments were made by readers of the Bulletin website. They were commenting on a report headlined "Massification demo calls for more courageous government measures". We were totally unaware that these comments were going to be reproduced.
At the time of using these comments for compiling the two news reports, there would have been no more than nine reader comments in all. In fact, the comments used by The Sun came from three of the nine.
The "massification" (overcrowding) demonstration on Saturday was attended by some 3,000 people from fifty or so different associations, organisations, political parties and platforms. It was a protest against a variety of issues, such as the quality of employment in the tourism industry and the environmental impact of tourism. These were all issues that are now well known in the debate regarding the model of tourism and not only the model as it applies to Majorca.
Anti-tourism sentiment, to the extent that it exists in Majorca, has been widely reported here in Majorca and in the foreign media. Majorca, given its popularity, arguably attracts more attention than any other Mediterranean and European sun-and-beach destination. Majorca is news. It is very good news. And this news can sometimes be exaggerated.
No one denies that holidaymakers, and not only British holidaymakers, have expressed some concerns regarding, and as examples, the tourist tax and the recent legislation on holiday rentals. In the case of British holidaymakers, they have additional concerns, which are not confined to Majorca, because of the exchange rate.
There will also be concerns because of the apparent anti-tourism sentiment, which - from our perspective here in Majorca - has been overblown by elements of the British media. To give an example, there have been references to anti-tourism "riots". There have been no such thing. The most publicised incident occurred in July when a small group from Arran let off flares and paraded anti-tourism banners by a restaurant in Palma. Arran is wholly unrepresentative.
It is nevertheless true that public opinion expresses concern about tourism overcrowding and the impacts of tourism. It is also true that this opinion is generally in favour of some limits to the number of tourists. It is also true to say that tourists' own opinion is that there is overcrowding.
We take it as a compliment, or rather our readers should, that British newspapers can compile news reports using comments from our website. But we cannot let these reports pass without observing that elements of the British media are distorting realities. There have not been incidents of an anti-tourism nature in the resorts. They have principally been confined to Palma. The throwing of eggs against the windscreens of transfer coaches may well have been such an incident, but no group has claimed any responsibility for it. To suggest, as The Sun has, that "British holidaymakers feared for their lives" is an example of over-statement, while singling out British tourists, as The Express has also done, is a total misrepresentation.
Majorca's tourism faces issues. At the Bulletin we are all too aware of them, and we don't step back in voicing criticism of certain government policies regarding tourism. We have ourselves reported incidents of an anti-tourism nature, which we would be expected to do, but we stress that there have been very few such incidents. As for the demonstration on Saturday, it was a totally peaceful one by three thousand people with different issues, including the building of a new road (Llucmajor to Campos).
Perspective needs to be applied, but unfortunately this isn't always the case.
As a final point, we fully respect the opinions of our readers on this subject, and there have been opinions expressed with other reports on the website. The passion with which these opinions are made might indeed be something that the regional government should reflect upon.
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