Thousands of people in the Tourism Sector have seen their income completely disappear because of the coronavirus pandemic, including Tour Guides.
"Many of us have not worked since the end of the 2019 season, because the pandemic was declared in early 2020, then lockdown was introduced so our work stopped and it hasn’t been reactivated,” says Miguel Beltrán. “Given the lack of tourism from abroad, we’ve been promoting domestic tourism and letting visitors know all about the city and the Island. It was going really well, even with the Covid measures that were dictated by the authorities such as social distancing, number of people, masks, reserving in advance and only visiting exteriors. But we had to stop when the new measures were imposed which limited meetings to people who belong to the same family.”
To become a Tour Guide in Mallorca you have to be able to speak Catalan, Spanish and one other language and either complete a 2 year High Vocational Training Course or attend the Escola de Turisme.
Guides are no longer collegiate.
“Collegiality is no longer required, which, in my view, is a mistake,” says Beltrán. “The College guaranteed that Tour Guides were good quality and provided a range of advice.
“Despite not working, we still have to comply with all the commitments of the State, Community and City Council and we get just over 400 euros a month, which is very little,” says Beltrán who believes reactivating national tourism is crucial.
“People don’t have a lot of money, so they won’t travel like they did before and Governments will be promoting domestic tourism," he says. "It’s really important to recover the season, because we rely on it, but for that to happen it’s essential that we get vaccinated. From now on travellers who arrive by sea and by air must be controlled and each and every PCR must be checked."
Miguel Beltrán believes that the cruise ship industry benefits the Balearic Islands.
"From my point of view they’re vital for our economy,” he adds. “Cruise ships are safe, because no one has the coronavirus protocols they have onboard, so many ports are preparing to receive them, which is not the case here. Cruise tourists love local culture, they visit monuments and churches and spend 150-200 euros, which is a great help to small businesses,” he adds. “Because you know in advance when the ships will arrive, Cruise ship passengers can be distributed to different parts of the island to avoid overcrowding. They're only usually in each port for a few hours, so they don’t pollute, they just spend money then leave.”
Beltrán says he’s very glad to see organisations like ‘Yes To Cruises’ coming out in support of Cruise ships because “they’re essential for the Island’s economy.”