War over bar and restaurant terraces is only exacerbating the problems.

10-07-2015Teresa Ayuga

January, once all the fiestas are finally over, and February are traditionally slow months for Palma’s restaurants but there is growing concern about how this year is going to perform.
Restaurateurs complained about a gradual slowdown in the last six months of last year, mirrored by the decline in demand for city centre hotel rooms, and now with domestic spending forecast to contract and turbulence in the Balearic tourist industry, many are worried about the year ahead.


They do have one get out clause, and that is going to be the local elections in May.
Palma city council provoked a conflict with bar and restaurants owners when it attempted to restrict and reduce terraces in certain key tourist hot spots in the city centre.
Initially, the council buckled under an outpouring of objections from the hostelry sector, the tourist industry and the general public.


However, city hall has carried on with its attempts to reduce the number of terraces and permitted numbers of tables and chairs.


This has led to restaurant associations taking legal action against the council on behalf of its members and individual establishments taking out private legal action as well.
For some of the smaller establishments over 50 percent of their income is generated by their terraces, especially during the eight to nine months of good weather the island enjoys.


Take those away, and many of the small businesses will be forced to close or at least lay staff off.


The hostelry sector is far from upbeat about the year ahead, but they could take revenge and oust the left wing coalition from power and hope for a more comprehensive administration.