Waves in Sant Lluís, Menorca

Waves of different kinds last week.

14-11-2021David Arquimbau Sintes

So, where were we? Ah yes, winter tourism and alternatives to the sun and beach model. The director of the Aetib tourism strategy agency, Francesc Mateu, told parliament's tourism committee that the agency was continuing with promotion to address seasonality and to extend the season beyond the summer months. With this in mind, and a week or so after the October end of the summer season, winter didn't quite re-enact the "hurricane" of twenty years ago but it was trying its best.

Storm Blas, a DANA isolated depression, and quite possibly a combination of both, led to rain, rain, and more rain. And wind. And rough seas. Weather-wise, it really was a rotten week, as everyone sought their own alternatives to sun and to beach.

The returning 3.75 million

More positively, and considering times of the year when sun and beach really require little by way of alternative, Mateu announced that the Balearics were expecting a full recovery of British tourism in 2022. In which case, we can look forward to welcoming back the full complement of 3.75 million British holidaymakers who came to the Balearics in 2019.

Transformation agendas

Mateu's boss, Iago Negueruela, let us know what else was in store in 2022 - a return to the "transformation agenda" for tourism that had been in place prior to the pandemic before it was transformed into a full-on crisis agenda instead. This transformation, we should remind ourselves, involves - as an example - diverting holidaymakers from the main sun and beach months to other months, when they can, for instance, enjoy Mallorca's natural environment. Quite so. And suitably dressed as well, one trusts.

In Magalluf, meanwhile, businesses were working on a branding exercise to further the ongoing transformation of the resort. 'Ola Magaluf' is to be this brand. The wave, it will be hoped, won't be threatening to reach twelve metres high.

Pollensa firestarter

Evidence of Storm Blas/DANA in Pollensa on Sunday was limited to some windy conditions but mercifully not that windy. Someone had apparently decided to set scrub on the Coll de Síller ablaze. This was almost four years since there had been a more devastating fire in roughly the same area.

The Mallorca Fire Brigade and firefighters from the Ibanat agency had the fire under control by around 2am. Some twenty hectares were affected. It was the second worst fire of the year.

Rising cases and another wave

Although we are now told that we must pay attention to hospitalisations and not case numbers, the latter can be difficult to ignore, especially when they rise and when the coordinator of the vaccination programme herself draws attention to a daily positivity test rate that has gone up from below four per cent to over six per cent.

Javier Arranz, the spokesperson for the regional infectious diseases committee, from whom we have heard very little recently, was back on press conference duty warning that restrictions may well have to be reintroduced, if it looks like there's going to be a sixth wave - and he wasn't talking Ola Magaluf. The Covid certificate for bars and restaurants, Arranz observed, could be an alternative to restrictions. Establishment owners, hopeful of a revival of Christmas lunches and dinners, may just have to get used to the certificate idea.

Twelve seditious passengers

Although the rain rained and the wind blew, the past week was dominated by the aftermath of the Palma Airport incident. The Spanish government's delegate in the Balearics, Aina Calvo, initially said there was no evidence of an "orchestrated operation". To be fair to her, this was the day after the incident when police had comparatively little to go on - they either didn't have statements from those detained (because they had exercised a right to silence) or they had highly conflicting statements. By the time that twelve of the Air Arabia Maroc passengers came to court, there was no doubt in the judge's mind that it had been pre-planned. The Prosecutor's Office levelled charges of sedition.

An extraordinary occurrence, there was an element of wise after the event regarding security, but there has already been a tightening of this. There cannot be a repeat, said President Armengol sternly. Let's hope that there isn't.


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