Puerto Alcudia beach, Mallorca

Revenue from sunloungers in Alcudia was 7.5% of what it would normally be.

17-10-2020Elena Ballestero

Mallorca, by virtue of being the seventeenth Länder, can always rely on fraternal German support, and so it was on Tuesday when Tui organised a flight or two and a selection of that all-too-rarely-sighted species (the tourist, of whatever nationality) landed in the honorary Bundesland.

Hurried on their way by a brisk northerly, the last (or were they the first) of the autumn German tourists were relieved to learn that Aemet had revised its weather forecast. The rain was disappearing, and an Indian summer was on its way. Happy days indeed. Ones for slapping on the high factor and heading off to the beach, where social distancing was unlikely to be too problematic.

Beach social distancing

But if it were an issue, these holidaymakers could avail themselves of Palma town hall's Playas Seguras app, no doubt replete with Sichere Strände translation. Palma had despatched a couple of tourism department worthies to Benidorm, where they appear to still have congresses that aren't totally virtual, in order to pick up first prize for their app at the Digital Tourist congress. (Question: what is a digital tourist exactly?)

The app ensures total Covid safety for beaches, which - God willing - will come in handy all next summer when there are sufficient tourists to demand total safety. Or is it God willing? Do we not hope that there is no need for Playas Seguras? They will certainly be hoping this in Alcudia, where the town hall had gone to a great deal of effort - app or no app - in ensuring Covid safety for its sunloungers and ended up with 7.5% of a normal season's revenue for its trouble.

Selling Tito's

The German tourists in Playa de Palma would also have been breathing a sigh of relief on learning that the Balearic government wasn't on the point of taking a leaf out of Catalonia's book and ordering the closure of all bars, especially as ones on Bierstrasse had just been given the ok to reopen.

These bars didn't include MegaPark, which the Cursach Group stated wasn't up for sale. The gradually eroding Cursach empire announced that Tito's was on the market for 16.5 million. The club could be converted to alternative use, it was suggested. A hotel, for example. Palma town hall will no doubt have its say about that, but perhaps the housing councillor, Neus Truyol, can persuade Mayor Hila to pitch for additional European Recovery Funds, buy Tito's and turn it into prime-location social housing.

José Hila was making much of all the funding heading Palma's way, as he made his address for the annual state of the city debate. Opposition parties suggested that the city was in a bit of a state. But then you'd expect them to suggest this anyway.

No fines for Airbnb

It can probably be taken as read that Tito's won't end up becoming luxury tourist holiday rental apartments. Were it to, though, Airbnb were reassured that they would be unlikely to cop for any more Balearic government fines for carrying ads for unlicensed apartments; and they would be unlicensed under existing town hall edict.

The Balearic government hadn't performed a U-turn on fining websites such as Airbnb. It was more a case of accepting reality; the government doesn't have much of a legal leg to stand on. Tourism minister Iago Negueruela admitted in parliament that the government would not be issuing further sanctions in view of the "legal complexity", which was a euphemism for acknowledging that EU law facilitates a definition of Airbnb and others as electronic intermediaries.

Testing time for the minister

The minister was meanwhile still going on about safe corridors, despite the UK heading in the general direction of total lockdown and the national tourism minister, Reyes Maroto, admitting that the health data in Spain weren't terribly helpful in this regard. But there was the agreement between the Balearic, Canarian and Spanish governments for safe corridor protocols - testing and all. The minister's implication in parliament was that airport testing of the type the agreement has in mind would be the first anywhere in the world. There were those inclined to disagree, such as Jorge Campos of Vox, who told Negueruela that he wasn't up to the job.

Bizarrely enough, given the agreement, we learned that the airports authority Aena wasn't prepared to have testing. It doesn't have "competence" for matters such as health security.

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