If the death of the UK Tourist market hadn’t already happened this summer in the Balearics then it was pretty much done when Jet2 announced this week that they were stopping all flights and holidays to the islands for the rest of the year. Don’t be surprised if Tui follow suit soon. Whilst I’m sure that Easyjet and Ryanair will cut back their services, I hope they continue a frequent enough one in the winter months.
One positive to come out from the Jet2 statement is “We can assure our partners in the Balearic Islands that we remain completely committed to these fantastic destinations. Bookings for next summer are looking strong and we cannot wait to be back doing what we do best, working with hoteliers and our partners in Ibiza, Majorca and Menorca to make sure our customers enjoy their well deserved holidays.”
If ever there was a wake up call to the Government here then there it was in that statement. Last week I said the Government needs to come up with ideas to restart the tourist industry. With Mallorca’s Tourism GDP at 44% and when you add in all the other industries it touches you’re looking at 85%. It is a massive problem for the island and it needs to come up with solutions as soon as possible.
The biggest problem in my view is we have a coalition Government both in Spain and the Balearics. The problem with a coalition is nothing gets done because they can never get a majority to agree on anything. Do you remember the Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition in the UK? A total mess and nothing got done. The other problem you have is you’ve got Civil Servants working in Ministerial positions where they have absolutely no idea what they’re talking about. That comes from comments I’ve heard from people on all sides of the political spectrum. Most of the posturing is done so the media can put positive messages out there but in reality they’re publicity stunts.
So what can they do?
Well firstly to ensure that the whole infrastructure of the island doesn’t fall apart they are going to have to extend the ERTE(furlough scheme) either to December or to March. Note that Germany have just extended theirs until the end of next year. We all know it will cost us in taxes over the coming years but what other choice do we have?
Business confidence is at an all time low. The ones that opened after they were given assurances by the Government feel they’ve been thrown to the wolves. The others who were told they couldn’t open also feel let down at not being given the chance. For most, by the time we reach next April it will have been 18 months without any money coming in. You think of your business and could it survive that amount of inactivity?
The ERTE has helped but let’s be honest it doesn’t compensate the money lost.
Once you’ve assured businesses that they can carry on then you’ve got to encourage them to re-open and get people off the ERTE and paying back into the system. Offer them tax breaks and social security breaks. The biggest fear for business is the costs they incur on staff. For instance for someone earning 1,000€ a month, the cost to the company is approximately 1,300€. On average the costs work out another 30% on top of their wage. Try and get that cost down.
Drop the rate of IVA(VAT) down to 4%. This has been mentioned by one political party. Some businesses currently pay 10% and others 21%. That would make a hell of a difference to someone’s bottom line at the end of the season.
Once you’ve got the businesses open you need to get the airlines and Tour Operators to bring the people. Reduce the landing fees for planes. Palma is the third most expensive airport to land in behind Madrid and Barcelona. The airport is privately run by a company called AENA but surely they don’t want an empty airport? I’m sure the Government could compensate them in some way.
I would suspend or get rid of the Tourist Tax. Does anybody know where the money goes? Does all of it really go to projects that are affected by Tourism? Can you name any of the projects the money went to? I’d be happy to sit with anybody who can explain to me where this goes as I can then hold my hands up and say I was wrong.
Hoteliers will have to look at reducing rates to get more business in. We are not in the heydays of the 80’s and 90’s where there was no competition. They have to be realistic and look to extend the season as long as possible. Easter falls at the beginning of April next year so if we can get this right, there is a great opportunity to have at least a 7 month season. Wouldn’t it be amazing to extend that beyond into November too?
Can someone please construct a Love Island Villa that can deal with social distancing? Love it or loathe it, to have our island in the homes of 4-5 million people every evening is a must. You can’t buy that advertising.
We must work on welcoming tourists to our island. Customer Service should be at the top of everyone’s agenda. The Government doesn’t have a great track record on encouraging tourists. In fact it has been accused of being anti-tourism in the past with measures such as the Tourist Tax, Holiday rentals, reducing cruise ship numbers and alcohol laws. But now is the time to wipe the slate clean and show the World that as soon as is possible we will be back and open for business.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Mallorca in my opinion is one of the best holiday destinations in the World. We’re an island with turquoise blue waters, secret coves, soft golden sands, lush green foliage, rugged mountains, picturesque villages, amazing cuisine, emerging wines, the best excursions, bustling nightlife and a vibrant capital city. We’re also an island in the Med only a couple of hours flight from most European cities.
What more could you want? Spread the word #Mallorca2021
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!