Finding Solutions….

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Big thanks to everyone who read, liked, shared & commented on my column and blog last week. It was seen and read in all of these different countries.
UK, Spain, Ireland, USA, United Arab Emirates, Canada, Germany, Australia, France, Denmark, Luxembourg, Andorra Mexico, Malta, Sweden, Hungary, Greece, Bulgaria, Russia, Poland, Saudí Arabia, Norway, Netherlands, Kuwait, Singapore, Jersey, Austria, Portugal, Slovakia, Italy, Vietnam, Belgium, Thailand and China. It was one of the most read columns and blogs I have ever written. It just goes to show what an important subject the story of Magaluf is and judging by the positivity I saw in the comments, a lot of people care about it’s future.
Let’s be clear there is a whole lot more to Mallorca than a street in Magaluf and I urge you to get out and discover the whole of the island. But there is a problem in that street that needs solving and I don’t believe by closing the street you’ve solved the issue. Words are not enough, plans are needed and right now there doesn’t seem to be too much coming from the powers that be.
The main plan i understand is to make the resort more family friendly and less appealing to the younger market. I still believe the two can go hand in hand and you also need to think that in the low season families from the three main source markets are banned from taking their children out of school during term time. So to have younger holiday makers in the shoulder months wouldn’t be a bad thing.
In 2019 Mallorca received 11,869,977 passengers. 4,182,626 were from Germany, 2,425,356 were from the UK and 1,597915 from Spain.
In 2013 Michael Gove of the UK government introduced a ban on term time holidays, previously school heads could allow up to ten days at their discretion, supported by a system of fines for parents who break the ban. There’s a £60 fine per child, rising to £120 if not paid within 21 days with a threat of prosecution for non-payment and penalties of up to £2,500 or three months in jail.
In Germany, school is compulsory so it is illegal for parents to take their kids out of school before their vacation officially starts. A truancy fine can be as high as €1,000. Parents must apply for an exemption with the school headmaster in order to legally take their kids out of school before the start of the holidays.
In Spain, School holiday dates are published by schools and local communities well in advance, thus allowing parents plenty of time to schedule family holidays. Normally, you aren’t permitted to withdraw a child from classes during the school term, except for visits to a doctor or dentist, when the teacher should be informed in advance.
So our three main markets won’t be filling the resort with families during the low season. I know that pre-school children come particularly in May but not enough to fill a resort.
What about asking Governments to relax the rules on not allowing kids to travel during term times? Before 2013 this was the case and do we believe that kids suffered in their education? This is not about encouraging truancy this would be an agreement between parents and teachers who let’s face it are the people who should decide not a Government Minister. If the child has a good attendance record and is not behind in their work in my view they should be encouraged to go away. Seeing new countries, experiencing new cultures, hearing new languages and tasting different cuisines should be part of their education.
This would boost the economies of all countries in a time when it is needed most. Not to mention the travel and hospitality sectors that are on their knees right now.
As we hopefully move towards a vaccine for COVID, there is lots of talk about how long the travel industry will take to recover. There hasn’t been to my knowledge such a huge impact on all aspects of travel in my lifetime. There was of course 9/11 in 2001 and also the ash cloud in 2010 but these had more of an impact on the aviation industry than other sectors. Also stricter security measures were put in across the World very quickly and the terrorism seemed to be linked more to the US, so consumer confidence returned quicker particularly in Europe. This is a different Worldwide problem and according to the experts will take longer to solve.
Here in Mallorca we have a great advantage, we’re an island in the Med only a couple of hours flight from most European cities and the longer passengers are on a plane, the thought is, that there is a greater risk to infection. So there’s definitely an argument that, if you’re going to take a risk on Covid, you’d rather do it on a flight that’s only two hours long.
Remember Mallorca is a safe destination, in the whole of the Baleares there have been 2,326 cases equal to 0.86% of the total number of cases in Spain. Also there have been 224 deaths in the Baleares equal to 0.78% of the total number of deaths in Spain.
Going back to my point about the younger people above. They are according to statistics less at risk of catching and dying from COVID. So a short haul flight, that’s cheaper and closer to home suddenly looks really appealing. Trips to Thailand, Bali, USA, Australia and New Zealand will probably be off limits for now, so a trip to Mallorca looks very attractive.
I was on the beachfront in Magaluf last Saturday evening and to be honest you could have been anywhere in the world. It is beautiful and suitable for people of all ages.
So why is their a push to discourage the younger people to come? Right now our travel industry here needs all the help it can get and according to the bar, cafe owners and staff I’ve spoken to. That’s the ones that are left open by the way, it feels more like North Korea than a holiday resort in the Med. I’m hearing also that these strict rules have been applied elsewhere. I’ve heard of police being heavy handed in Portals Nous, Santa Ponsa and El Toro in places that to be honest should be left alone to do what they do best.
Back to Magaluf, set the rules, make bar owners accountable for their actions, police the resort properly and you might just be surprised that you’ve got a resort that appeals to all and doesn’t make the headlines of the tabloids every week.
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!
Follow him on Twitter @DadTaxi1 & Instagram @dad.taxi or feel free to email him at rprior@globobalear.com

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