An electric carriage which will replace the horse-drawn carriage. | R.L.


Unanimity at Alcudia town hall. All parties at the council session on Tuesday agreed to an amendment to bylaws to enable the possibility of replacing horse-drawn carriages with electric ones. The motion expressly referred to this measure as a means of preventing the exploitation of animals and of using available alternatives. It has been accepted that there are calls for horse carriages to be phased out from all parties, and not just political ones. These calls have come from Alcudia residents, from animal-rights groups, from tourists and from the carriage operators themselves. It was in fact the latter who set the ball rolling in Alcudia some years ago, aware of how attitudes were changing.

The agreement also highlighted the importance of protecting Alcudia’s tourist image - a municipality committed to the protection of animals, the environment, and livelihoods. It emphasised the role played by the carriage drivers in seeking to eliminate the exploitation of animals and the consequences of this.

An Alcudia councillor, Azahara Machado, was in Valencia recently to see an electric-carriage prototype. Some of the carriage drivers had gone with her. According to Machado, the manufacturer says that it will take a maximum of one year to deliver the carriages that are ordered.

There are ten carriage licence-holders in Alcudia. The switch to electric carriages won’t necessarily be immediately total. The amended ordinance allows for both horse and electric carriages in the meantime; there are cost and manufacturing factors to take account of. As it is, the first electric carriages are unlikely to appear before the 2025 season, given the long lead times. It is a specialist form of manufacture which doesn’t come cheap.

The cost is due to be assumed by the carriage drivers. In neighbouring Muro, where there is a similar town hall will to end horse carriages, the town hall has raised the possibility of financial assistance, but Alcudia hasn’t referred to this. If this were any assistance, it would most likely be in the form of a loan rather than direct aid.

Both Alcudia and Muro town halls have been contemplating the switch for some years. One thing that has held them back has been national traffic regulation for the type of electric vehicle that will be used. This has now been duly amended.

One of the councillors who supported the motion was a former mayor, Domingo Bonnin of El Pi. In summer 2022, when he was mayor, it appeared as if he and the town hall had finally had enough of potential issues with horse carriages other than just those to do with animal welfare.

One afternoon there was a thunderstorm, and a loud clap of thunder caused a horse to bolt. Aptly enough perhaps, the horse and the carriage were by the Horse Roundabout at the time. The horse raced along the road (Corneli Atic) with the sports centre and municipal pool and caused some slight damage to parked cars before the police were able to bring it under control. For Bonnin, there was a safety issue as much as anything else.

Another Alcudia sinkhole claims a motorised victim

It certainly wasn’t the first time that a sinkhole had appeared on the Carretera Arta in Alcudia and nor was it the first time that a vehicle had become trapped because of a sinkhole.

One can go back to April 2019, for example, and when a delivery truck became stuck because a front wheel had gone into a sinkhole on a stretch of the road that has become notorious for these collapses - in the area of the Alcudia Beach Hotel.

The most recent case involved a bus that was travelling along the Carretera Arta side road heading towards Puerto Alcudia. The sinkhole had emerged by the junction with C. Iuques, which is just before the canal from Lago Esperanza to the sea. This was therefore a different section of the main road. The question is where the next sinkhole will appear.

ALCUDIA. HOTELES. World2Meet se hace con la gestión de seis hoteles de BlueBay en Balears. El Bellevue Club Mallorca, en Alcúd

Bellevue change of management - what might it mean?

Any news emanating from Bellevue is of interest because of the size of the complex and potential ramifications. The latest is that there will be new management - 07 Hotels, which is part of W2M (World2Meet) and so ultimately the Iberostar Group.

This is a strategic alliance with BlueBay that covers nine establishments in all; Lagomonte is another. For BlueBay president, Jamal Satli Iglesias, an agreement signed with Miguel Fluxá, the Iberostar president, is hugely satisfying because of Fluxá’s standing in the hotel industry globally as well as in Mallorca.

Indeed, and Miguel Fluxá and Iberostar have a reputation for excellence which makes one believe that this could be a most welcome development. Iberostar’s reputation is such that one can but hope that Bellevue dealings with its local community and clientele will be an improvement. The complex is much better than it was, but there are still major flaws, and PR is one of them. How many vociferous complaints posted on TripAdvisor over the years have been simply ignored by an establishment which rarely deviates from a standard, same-word response that means absolutely nothing?

The CEO of W2M, Gabriel Subiás says of the agreement that it demonstrates his company’s commitment to guaranteeing “a unique service where the client is the protagonist”. Very good, but which clients? Spanish students, for example?

At a Palma forum in November 2022, Subiás observed that the tourism model in Mallorca and the Balearics was “designed for the client of the seventies”. “Today, that client has changed. The client is sovereign and we have to listen and see what the client wants. What is clear is that if we do not all act with a certain responsibility, things will not go well.” He went on to stress the need for sustainability, and social sustainability in particular.

One might say that Bellevue has at times almost epitomised a model from the seventies. So this will be changing. Will it not? And in a manner that is sustainable for all of society, especially that which is local. Will it not, Sr. Subiás? I shall be watching with interest.