Last weeks column and blog certainly got you talking. Nobody could see a negative in having tourists here in the winter. Well a couple said they like the winters tourist free but as we’re having a summer free then maybe they’ll relent! I was even asked to get it translated into Catalan and send it to the powers that be. If anyone would like to do that I’d be happy to hear from you. Everyday there seems to be more positive news about the pandemic which will mean more lockdown measures being eased. One thing that I don’t understand here is the introduction of face masks? 70 days into the lockdown and now we’re told that we have to wear them? It’s because we’re all being let out they say. But we’ve all been in supermarkets since this started not being made to wear them and now we do? I don’t get it. Face masks will be the new hand sanitiser and someone, somewhere is making a fortune. The front page of the Spanish newspaper Ultima Hora on Thursday said that families were spending between 72 and 115 euros a month on masks alone. That can’t be right especially when people are struggling to put food on the table.
On the plus side there seems to be some green shoots of a sort of summer season here on the island.
Easyjet plans to resume a limited number of flights from June 15th. Although nothing to Palma as yet.
Ryanair plans to resume up to 50% of its flights from July 1st.
Further routes will be announced over the coming weeks as customer demand increases and lockdown measures across Europe are relaxed.
The two main Tour Operators Tui and Jet2 are currently saying mid June to begin their programmes. Remembering that these companies fly holiday makers to lots of different destinations and they will I imagine open up each country when given the go ahead to do so. That won’t mean to begin with Palma as the Government here are still saying domestic travel before international travel. We have to think that at the moment because of the state of alarm the whole talk is about Spain. But my understanding is as soon as the autonomous regional Governments begin governing again the Balearics and the Canary Islands will start before the mainland. Tui Germany will be the first to start in Mallorca and I would imagine that the UK won’t be far behind. My guess is the first or second week of July.
I think we have to be realistic that the numbers won’t be like a normal July and August but it’s a start. Simon Calder the man most TV companies turn to when there’s a travel problem held a poll on Twitter asking would you be happy to travel abroad this summer and 65% said no.
A similar story in Ireland where a poll in the Irish Mirror found that just over three-quarters of all respondents were willing to forgo the sunshine and stay at home. They asked: “Would you fly off on holidays this summer given Ryanair promises to be back in the air by July 1?” – with both yes and no voting options.
A whopping 76.3% of voters said they would not fly this summer while just under 24% wanted to jet off to sunnier climes.
Mind you I imagine there will be a price war amongst Tour Operators and airlines looking to fill seats which might well persuade a lot more people to book. They only have realistically until the end of August when the children will probably be returning to school in the UK.
The other deciding factor could be the weather as if the summer is a washout then more people might be tempted. Temperatures were warm in the UK this week meaning the coastlines were busy. The papers were coming out with the age old headlines, We’re hotter than the Maldives and Marbella, were two places that got a mention.
The UK government seems to be putting a lot of obstacles in the way too. Apart from Ministers saying it was doubtful that a foreign holiday could happen, they added a two week quarantine which was probably the most damaging. You might think that they are encouraging more people to not go abroad and consider a staycation but this is a fine balancing act because in another way they are harming their own tourist industry too. Tourism before the lockdown contributed £106 billion to the British economy and was 11% of its GDP and supported 2.6 million jobs. That GDP figure is interesting when you consider Spain’s is virtually the same.
Given the choice of two weeks on Southend beach or two weeks here then I know what I would be choosing. No offence to Southend, it’s the one that’s been plastering the news this week with their crowded beaches. In fact I used to go clubbing there most weekends in my youth. Zero 6 and TOTS were my hangouts back in the day. But for me Mallorca would win every time. It is the perfect time right now for us to explore our island. Lots of us I’m sure haven’t been to quite a few places that are often talked about as must sees here. As the lockdown eases there will be ample more opportunities to go out and explore. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to see the island in the summer virtually tourist free, so make the most of it.
Take care everyone and enjoy your weekend!
Richie presents the Radio One Mallorca Breakfast show Monday to Friday07.30-11.00am on 93.8fm in Mallorca and 102fm in Calvià, online at www.radioonemallorca.com on mobile through their free App for IPhone & Android, The Tunein Radio App, iTunes, the Spanish TDT TV service and all smart speakers. If you can’t hear him on the radio then you’ll find him working at Pirates Adventure the islands number one night out and every now and again he may make an understudy appearance!