With all due respect to Leonard Cohen, the taking of Manhattan could wait. Berlin was first on the taking list. Not that there was any direct taking as such. This was the virtual taking of the Berlin ITB tourism fair, and it represented a curious and little-wanted anniversary. When last year's was called off, the full immensity of coronavirus started to dawn on everyone, as for Mallorca it was going to mean more or less everyone, given the reliance on tourism.
The island's tourism industry thus beamed itself to the German capital in virtual fashion. Fully ventilated, outdoor virtual press conferences were arranged. The president of the Balearics headed an all-star cast who positioned themselves against backdrops of Palma Bay. Not an SOS Turismo banner was to be spotted, the sun shone and Germany was provided with a reminder of what many of its citizens had been missing.
The lowest incidence in the Med
#MallorcaSafeTourism it most certainly was. The lowest incidence in the Mediterranean, the president said of the island (islands). Almost all of the Balearics was now Covid low risk. "The figures continue to go down, by contrast to other destinations, such as Greece and Turkey," she observed, and German media would have been able to consult a map of risk in Greece and find that Crete might not be all that it had been cracked up to be (by Tui at any rate). Parts of Crete were either red for high risk or dark red for very high risk.
Controlling drunken tourism
So, Berlin was indeed being taken, and there was detail of how Mallorca intended to ensure safety of destination. Pedro Homar of Palma 365 noted that the police were prepared to control anti-social tourism in the German holiday stronghold of Playa de Palma, his words having come a couple of days after the boss of Alltours had warned against tourism reactivation being "tarnished". Willi Verhuven suggested that the Balearic government should prohibit drunken tourism, which would probably have come as music to Iago Negueruela's ears.
The incongruous mobility
Tui had been in town prior to the virtual fair. Sebastian Ebel was urging a hurry-up with the vaccination programme, even though the campaign in Germany wasn't exactly moving at the speed of light or as fast a Tuifly plane could make it to Palma from Frankfurt. And the infections were rising, albeit that the overall seven-day incidence per 100,000 for the country was only in the seventies (but climbing). Still, there were fears of a German third wave, which just added to the sense of incongruity, as the mobility of national travellers within Spain was being so discouraged. And as the 7-day incidence in the Balearics was (as of Saturday) 19.92 and the 14-day rate was 43.32 (Mallorca 20.53 and 45.76) ... .
Covid tourist attractions
With a message of Willkommen with added Sicherheit being relayed to Berlin, what might await intrepid German tourists? Vast, empty beaches would be one attraction, unless town halls decide to close them in order to prevent social gatherings of greater than six (two households only). At least bar interiors got the all-clear to open from Monday (four to a table, two households), so there would be some shelter in the event that the weather is less than spring-like, but no later than 5pm and so with plenty of time to get back to the hotel before the 10pm curfew.
Otherwise, there might be a new attraction - watching the queues at mass vaccination centres. Two more in Mallorca open on Monday, the calls from the health service for vaccination having been extended to 55-year-olds, who might have been reading those reports about AstraZeneca with slight concern.
And the vaccination programme was starting to appear as if it was achieving something like a mass. More than 100,000 doses had been administered in the Balearics. Seventy per cent of the population here we come!