It was like a throwback to the good old days of passport control queues and chaos. How we must wish that this is all we have to worry about at airports, as now there are the health checks on passengers.
With passenger numbers at Son Sant Joan roughly a tenth of what they would normally be, "chaos" was reigning. International flights were coinciding with national flights, passengers were apparently being herded through the same channels, passenger locator cards (PLCs) were incomplete or hadn't been filled out. Everyone blamed the airports authority, and Aena blamed passengers and, by implication, airlines. If the PLCs had been correct, there wouldn't have been the queues and the crowding. Let's just say that there were some teething troubles.
The success of the pilot plan
Still, tourists were arriving, and the regional government's Aetib tourism agency reckoned that some five million passengers will be passing through Son Sant Joan (in and out) between now and the end of August - roughly half of last year's total. An explanation for this number, it was said, was the success of the tourist test pilot plan. So successful had this plan been that both the regional and national tourism ministers were lauding it, and even Austria's ambassador to Spain joined in with the praise.
"Better than expected" was the assessment of Iago Negueruela. The PP opposition begged to differ with the tourism minister. The plan had ended "prematurely" and it had only focused on Majorca and not the other islands.
England versus the rest
With chaos something of the order of the week, the UK continued following its own chaotic trail, or corridor or bridge or whatever it was or wasn't called. Eventually there was a definitive list of countries that were off the UK's quarantine list, which of course wasn't the UK's; it was England's. The Scottish and Welsh assessment of the UK government was "shambolic".
Germans in Magalluf
With the English being lined up, were things about to take a turn for the better in Calvia's resorts? Calvia, according to one headline, was apparently turning its back on British tourists. Hardly. Calvia was in fact looking to grab some of the German market; Magalluf, Palmanova and Santa Ponsa anyway. Paguera is solidly German.
We were led to believe that 85% of tourists in Magalluf, Palmanova and Santa Ponsa come from the British Isles. Really? This may be the case in Santa Ponsa, because the president of the local hoteliers association had said so a few weeks ago, but the percentage in Magalluf and Palmanova is some way short of this figure. In November last year, the hoteliers association gave a figure of 44% for British presence in Magalluf and Palmanova.
Positive rather than negative
The Bank of Spain cheerily predicted that there was little likelihood of tourism activity returning to 2019 levels before the second half of next year. Negative though this might have sounded, the emphasis could have been different - Bank forecasts return to tourism normality next summer! Even this might have seemed less than positive, but the prediction - whichever way it was framed - was actually a good deal more positive than some other forecasts have been and which have referred to 2022 or 2023.
Clubs not opening
The Cursach Group, best known by the British for BCM in Magalluf, announced that it wouldn't be opening any of its clubs this summer, which therefore also included Tito's in Palma, an altogether more iconic establishment in terms of its history.
The "extraordinary decision of the Balearic government not to allow nightclub and disco activity" in the Balearics, especially in Magalluf and Playa de Palma, was given as the reason. Meanwhile, Tolo Cursach, who - along with 24 others - faces a trial on corruption charges, was ordered to pay bail of 150,000 euros. This didn't really mean a great deal as a four million euro civil bond had been lodged with the courts three years ago.
The government's Covid restrictions and its tourism of excesses decree were again being blamed for illegal street parties. And young people's attitude was in turn being blamed. "Young people feel that they are not vulnerable," said the director-general of public health. The nightlife sector was attributing these street parties to government policy. The sector may have had a point, but these parties aren't exactly unknown to occur under normal circumstances.
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