This The Fitur international tourism fair in Madrid is traditionally an occasion for town hall representatives to rub shoulders with the great and good of the tourism industry and, if they’re really lucky, to get within lens shot of the King and Queen. These representatives return from Madrid with a collection of photos to remember the event. Alas, for Covid reasons, the opportunities were somewhat reduced this year, and so the competition to find the winner of the photo competition wasn’t fierce.
A three-way contest between Alcudia, Muro and Pollensa, there was only one winner, and by a considerable distance as well. Muro and Pollensa were not in the running, as Alcudia - Mayor Bàrbara Rebassa and tourism councillor Josep Cladera - co-opted President Armengol, tourism minister Iago Negueruela, tourism director general Rosana Morillo, president of the Council of Majorca Catalina Cladera, and the Council’s tourism councillor Andreu Serra in sweeping the board in terms of Majorcan tourism political greats (sic).
If only Reyes Maroto, the national tourism minister, had happened to be passing by as well. But not to worry, it was still a very fine effort by Alcudia, who also had photo opportunities for Ironman (due to be held in October) and the eMallorca Challenge. Tomeu Cifre, Pollensa’s mayor, managed to find himself in this photo as well, but was otherwise unusually camera-shy.
Apart from the photos, why were they there? According to Alcudia, it was all about supporting the tourism sector, “one of the most important economic engines in the Balearics”. One of? Pollensa’s tourism councillor, Maria Buades, was rather more expansive in explaining that the town hall has set itself the objective of promoting “the wide range of possibilities for sustainable tourism”. Pollensa has a “varied offer - cultural, gastronomic, sporting and ornithological tourism and, of course, traditional sun and beach”.
The latter of these, beach, may at some point have some services on it this summer; not that the councillor was drawing attention to the lateness of the tendering.
As to Muro, mayor Toni Serra and tourism councillor Margalida Ballester wanted to promote Playa de Muro as a safe and quality tourist destination. And so it is. Beach, beach, more beach and a spot of cycling as well no doubt. The mayor, rather like his counterpart in Pollensa, may have also faced one or two awkward questions about the beach services, such as - why aren’t there any sunloungers and parasols?
The president of the Playa de Muro Hoteliers Association, Pepe de Luna, has criticised the town hall for not having sorted out the sunloungers yet. The rescue service has been up and running since the first of May, but there’s still no sign of the other services. The hoteliers, De Luna has said, are “disgusted”, given all the efforts they have made to open the hotels despite the uncertainties posed this summer.
The mayor has explained that it is precisely these uncertainties that are the reason. “The current situation makes it very difficult to set conditions without knowing what occupancy the beaches could have. We can’t calculate a fair price (for concessions) in order to award them.” Nevertheless, he expects that there will probably be sunloungers for the end of June.
Toni Serra has also said that the town hall prefers to contract these services out rather than manage them directly. “We don’t have sufficient personnel to do this.” Muro is therefore not in the same situation as Alcudia, which does directly manage the beaches, does have the personnel and has had sunloungers on beaches since May 1. But Alcudia, for safe distancing purposes, doesn’t need anything like its full complement of 4,000 sunloungers and 2,000 parasols, and so the town hall has lent some of them out.
Manacor town hall has decided that it will now have direct management of the beaches. However, there is one snag - laying its hands on adequate numbers of sunlounger sets. Alcudia to the rescue, and so beachgoers in Manacor this summer will find that while they are on a Manacor beach, they are actually lying on a piece of Alcudia. The sunloungers all have Alcudia town hall logos on them.