A band from Paisley in Scotland called Stealers Wheel can for me perfectly sum up what has happened this week here in Mallorca. There’s a line in the song that goes “clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right here I am stuck in the middle with you”.
Firstly we had the mask debacle. Do we have to wear them or don’t we? If I’m honest I’m still none the wiser. Government policy started to change as there were reports of a sudden rush of hotel cancellations. Who in their right mind wants to where a mask on holiday? It’s only a mask you say, yes I agree but it didn’t go down too well with prospective holiday makers. As long as I have my trusty wind instrument with me, I know I’m safe. Then after the much publicised events on the Punta Ballena over the last few days the Government have decided to close the whole street. Oh and a couple of surrounding streets too since that seems to have gone under the radar. So does this mean the death knell for Magaluf as a party resort? Possibly, as the authorities have made it quite clear that “excessive tourism” as they call it is not wanted. There has been a concerted effort by the Government and hoteliers to change the image of the resort. Since 2012, Melia Hotels, one of the biggest hotel chains in the area, have been working on a long-term plan to transform that perception of the resort. Eight years later, and after investing more than 250 million euros along the way, what has changed? Thanks to the ripple effect on the rest of the industry, almost 70% of hotel beds in Magaluf are now in 4 and 5-star hotels, well above the average for both Mallorca and Spain.
That’s eight years and without doubt the hotels are impressive but what about the rest of the resort? There has definitely been a drive to get more quality restaurants, bars and retail outlets into the area and in parts that has been successful especially along the seafront. But what about the rest of the resort? I didn’t see the restaurants and shops busy at the Meliá flagship hotel Innside Calvia beach last year, which right now is sadly all closed up. Costa Coffee has now closed both of its outlets in the area. How many more will give up the ghost after this disastrous summer? Is this what Melia and the other hoteliers signed up to?
So what’s the plan now? I’m interested to know what the Mayor and Calvia Town Hall think about what’s going on. They’ve been on the whole quite quiet in all of this. Surely an empty resort isn’t good for the image and they’re standing as one of the richest councils in Spain is right now going to take a massive dive.
I still think Magaluf beach is one of the most beautiful on the island. For me it’s undeniable, though as I walk down the beach front today most of the beach bars and restaurants are shut. It’s July, this place should be buzzing, it’s a very sad state of affairs.
Personally I’m all for keeping the island safe and COVID free, none of us want to return to a lockdown. But are we seriously saying that just one breach of the rules actually leads to a closedown of whole areas? Judging by the comments I’ve had from people the closedown fits the agenda and that’s a dangerous precedent to set. This has been media led and the Government have caved in. So are we saying that if a similar breach happened on the Paseo Marítimo or Santa Catalina the whole area will be shut? I’ll leave you to make up your own mind. Remember this is every business on the strip not just the bars. How can that be fair? You’re taking away peoples livelihoods here that have nothing to do with “excessive tourism”. If you want to change something then surely it’s better to talk to the people directly involved in it? Get their opinions and listen to the concerns. The powers that be were constantly told that the prostitutes and muggers were ruining the resort but nothing was done about that. There was definitely no talking when the excessive tourism bill was passed, in fact it took most by surprise. Then there was the famous map of businesses that were in the “excessive zone” and businesses that weren’t. In fact you could have one side of a street that was in the zone and another which wasn’t. All the Lawyers I’ve spoken to said it’s wrong it should be all or nothing. Many businesses though were willing to embrace it but most haven’t been given the chance. There’s a lot of good people in this town who if given the chance could help in the way forward but as usual are not given a voice.
I’ve lived and worked in and around Magaluf for 30 years so I think I have at least half an idea of what I’m talking about. When I arrived in 1990, families and young people mixed with hardly any problems. I worked as a holiday rep in the hotel Guadalupe and in the same week I could sell 100 tickets to family Pirates and 100 tickets to adults only Pirates. The resort and the Punta Ballena existed then as it does now. At night families went to their bars and the younger people headed to the strip. In fact maybe I’m not the right person. Successful businesses are now listening to their younger employees and setting up middle management teams. It’s something we set up in Pirates last year, to give our employees the chance to progress within the company but also these guys see things in a totally different way to how we do. We found it very rewarding. Look at our governing representatives and ask yourself are these the right people to move this resort and island forward?
As I write this I’m on my way to a meeting in Palma with the Mallorca Tourist Board. They asked me to do an interview with the Daily Telegraph about Magaluf and I asked if we could meet up too. I’ll update you next week.
I understand things change but if it’s going to be for the better there needs to be a plan, so whoever is in charge here call a meeting let’s get round a table and get this resort moving again. Last week I said #Mallorca2021 let’s add #Magaluf2021.
Take care everyone and enjoy your weekend!
Richie presents the Radio One Mallorca
Breakfast show Monday to Friday07.30-11http://www.radioonemallorca.com.00am on 93.8fm in Mallorca and 102fm in Calvià, online at 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!
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One thought on “Magaluf, RIP?”
Good piece Richie, bang on , however the consortium running Mallorca , are mostly academics or radical nationalists / socialist, most have no understanding of the greater good,, and even less about tourism…. nuff said