The new cycle lane in the bay of Alcúdia. | E. BALLESTERO


THE Playa de Muro, Alcudia and Can Picafort attract nearly 65,000 cyclists from overseas between February and June every year, but this year’s cycling season has been written off and a large number of hotels which over the years have invested heavily in catering for cyclists and other sports tourists, fear they may be forced to close for good unless there is some form up tick in trade this year.

Cycle tourism has become big business over the past decade and for a number of areas of the island had enabled a new market to open.

Hidden away rural villages would normally be bursting with activity with cafés and bars catering especially for cyclists doing a rapid trade.

And, not only has Mallorca become a haven for international amateur teams, cycling clubs and passionate cyclists, over Christmas the island would have normally played host to most of the top professional steams in the world ahead of the start of the European cycling season, the Vuelta de Mallorca which was cancelled last month.

In Muro and the Bay of Alcudia, hoteliers are deeply concerned about having already lost the cycling season and are none too confident about what is going to happen this summer, if anything. The President of the Muro Hotel Federation, Pepe de Luna, has stated that most hotels in the area have now been closed for 16 months during which time they’ve been running up average debts of 350,000 euros per month, month-and-a-half - technically many have already gone bust because the amount of income lost is not going to come back over night and certainly not until massive vaccine programmes have been completed both here in Majorca and in the main source markets such Germany, the United Kingdom and other countries in Northern Europe.

“We may be all closed, but we have to cover the costs of rates and maintenance and not all of my members are going to be able to survive,” he added.

“We’ve been lobbying the local council for the best part of a year now for a reduction in rates and taxes but all we’ve been granted is a reduction in property tax and the municipal waste collection rates - it’s not enough and it certainly will not see us through the summer and until October when the cycling season starts to get into gear again,” de Luna said.

“And of course, it’s not just the hotels which are suffering but the whole food chain in the cycling sector from cafés to mechanics, cycling shops, guides and the transport sector,” he added.