Can Pere Antoni beach without a red or blue flag.

04-06-2020Europa Press

It was the week of the test tourist auction. Any raise on the start of the week's 2,000 or 3,000 German tourists coming to the Balearics? There was. 6,000. Do we hear more? We did. President Armengol announced that there will be a maximum of 10,900, although this was before Tui said that there was an "avalanche" of bookings. This in reality was more a slight displacement - 500 bookings, which were presumably on top of how many there already were, whatever that figure actually was.

Still, when there haven't been any tourists, any advance on zero had to be welcomed. And so tomorrow the pioneering tourists from Germany will doubtless be greeted like returning heroes. What can we expect? What can they expect? A welcoming, socially-distanced throng at the airport comprising the entire government plus various members of the Council of Majorca and the mayor of Palma, accompanied by the Palma Band of Music, pipers, a ball de bot troupe, half a dozen giants and a Michelin-starred chef handing out sobrassada delicacies?


There's always the tourist tax
Some of the reporting surrounding this momentous development was extraordinary. There was, for instance, the apparently startling news that the test tourists will have to pay the tourist tax. It wasn't as if there had been any previous suggestion that they wouldn't have to. They are tourists, test ones or not, and the Balearic government had been making it perfectly clear that it will be grabbing whatever possible tax revenue it can lay its hands on. But why were there not other nationalities? Well, one good reason why not is that this is merely a test, and it just so happens that Germany is the largest tourism market and also benefits from having decent virus data.


Losing half a metre
The Spanish government, preparing us all for the great day when the new normal dawns, did so in characteristic fashion. There was a decree. Supermarkets and numerous other establishments were thus faced with having to get rid of current floor markings and laying new ones. Social distancing is to decrease by half a metre. Otherwise, the supermarkets will have been grateful to learn that their bulk purchasing of packs of fifty disposable masks will not be going to waste. Under the new normal, masks will remain obligatory.


Conflicting capacities
The Balearic government, empowered to take some of its own de-escalation Phase 3 measures, upped bar and restaurant capacities to 75%, which was 25% above the national guideline. At the same time, the government opted for a capacity in nightlife establishments of 30% less than the national figure. These establishments weren't being allowed to open. Might this herald, we wondered, a government attitude towards nightlife going forward, especially where this nightlife could be bracketed with so-called tourism of excesses. The tourism minister is due to be talking with representatives of the sector this week.


Red rather than blue flags
A month or so later than normal, and it was the annual Blue Flags announcement. There will be flags flying at thirty-eight beaches in the Balearics this summer; six fewer than last year, with Calvia town hall the latest to have decided that other quality-certification flags will suffice. In Alcudia, they don't bother with the Blue Flag either, but the town hall wouldn't have been overly happy last week. The sunloungers service, directly managed by the town hall (the only example of direct town hall management), was available from Monday. The rain hammered down, and there were no takers.

Elsewhere, as in the Can Pere Antoni and Ciutat Jardí beaches, where they most definitely do not have Blue Flags, the heavy rain produced what it normally does. A red flag is far more common than a blue one. Bathing was prohibited for a time because of faecal water spills.

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