I don’t know if you’ve noticed like me this week the Governments push for positive tourism news? I’m all for it if it’s true but I’m sceptical.
The Balearic President has told us it’s been a great season, there were reports that the number of tourists visiting Spain in July were up 78%, comparing to July 2020 (when there was hardly any).
Palma de Mallorca International Airport has apparently recovered this month of August 2021 up to 85% of the air traffic it supported in pre-pandemic times in August 2019, due to the progressive growth of national and international traffic to Mallorca.
Forecasts indicate that during this month about 3.9 million passengers have passed through the Mallorcan airport, a figure very close to 4.2 million in August 2019. Likewise, aircraft traffic will have been around 25,000, for the 28,790 of 2019, according to AENA data.
There’s been a “massive” drop in unemployment in the Balearics in the month of August.
Another thing that came out of a Governmental meeting this week was “maintaining flights is vital to extending Mallorca’s tourism season.” There’s quite a few things to pick through here, as although the headlines look good, I think it’s always good to go deeper into the detail.
Firstly are they trying to get this good news out now because we are in September, it’s normally the beginning of a wind down to winter?
Whilst in Ibiza this week President Armengol stated, has been “much better than expected.” It has been a “very good” season, backed by a “very significant effort” to make it so.
With regard to nightlife, a sector which is of course closely associated with Ibiza, Armengol thanked the “huge effort” to understand the situation caused by the pandemic. By foregoing its business, “the collective” has been helped. So here’s the problem, the nightlife industry isn’t going to accept another season of closure. Whilst some have adapted and trialed daytime events, there is no doubt the clubs make their money from what they’re famous for, being nightclubs. Let’s remember that is two fold and in reality the Government needs them too. The Nightlife Sector generates a whopping 20 billion euros, according to the National Federation of Leisure & Entertainment Businesses, or FNEOE. That can’t be ignored for much longer.
I’m interested to know about the numbers at the airport and how they are reported. Firstly look at the wording and phrases, “forecast” “about” “passed through” “aircraft traffic will have been around 25,000” so it’s not an exact number. “Passed through” wouldn’t actually mean they are coming to Mallorca as a lot of people pass through on their way to another destination. Have they taken an average number of seats on a plane and multiplied by the number of planes that arrived? It seems that way. A lot of people in the travel industry and that were travelling particularly in July and August were telling me that the planes weren’t full and load factors weren’t as strong as predicted. I made a point of looking for flights in August and found quite a few for 9.99€ per person. In August? I’ve never seen it before.
I said last week that for some businesses, especially the higher end of the market the season has been good but for the majority it’s about trying to survive until next season. I’ve been banging on about winter for years now and still nothing was done. That was in the good times, so what makes you think that after a pandemic where airlines & hotels who have lost millions are all of sudden going to keep flying and stay open in the winter months? As much as I would like it to happen, it’s not going to. So to come out of a Governmental meeting this week and tell us that “maintaining flights is vital to extending Mallorca’s tourism season.” I find that a staggering statement. If you went into most school classrooms and asked the same question you would probably get the same answer.
You’re probably saying ok smart arse what would you do? Well firstly I’d get my facts in order and secondly I’ve commented countless times on summer and winter tourism. I wrote about winter tourism on the 15th of May last year giving a whole list of ideas that can be used. If you missed it, let me repeat.
So what can we offer? We’re an island in the Med only a couple of hours flight from most European cities. We have to change the chip from sun, sea and sand although we do have days that are still suited to that. Also I’m not saying a week or two weeks as some of these ideas can be done in a long weekend.
Hiking: Mallorcas natural beauty and terrain make it a hikers paradise.
Cycling: The majority of professional cycling teams use Mallorca as a training base.
Horse Riding: Natura Cavall offer some amazing riding experiences with the Sunday Times travel section doing a full feature on them this summer.
Football: Real Mallorca currently play in La Liga and Atlético Baleares play in Primera RFEF.
Shopping: There are a number of shopping centres including Porto Pi, Mallorca Fan and Mallorca Fashion outlet. Palma the capital offers the ardent shopper an unbelievable array of shops including El Corte Inglés, Zara, H&M and lots of designer boutiques.
Sights: Palma has some truly beautiful sight-seeing opportunities including the Cathedral, Bellver Castle and the Es Baluard museum of Modern & Contemporary Art to name just three.
Restaurants: I challenge you to find a better City than Palma for its diversity of restaurants in beautiful surroundings.
Local Fiestas: famed across the island, every month there’s something happening.
Wine: has become a big industry with wine tours and fairs all over the island.
Excursions, winter excursions are all about sightseeing including the Soller train, Caves of Drach and the Palma City sightseeing buses.
Putting the above into a monthly plan.
November, there’s fiestas celebrated all over the island. Just after Halloween Muro hosts the Pumpkin Fair, Caimari has its Olive fair, Mancor de la Vall entertains the Mushroom Fair. There’s also Sa Pobla’s Agricultural Fair of farming exhibitions, arts & crafts markets and a horse show. There’s a new wine fair in Santa Maria del Cami which is a fabulous event to sample some the island’s local wines.
December, Christmas fairs pop up all over the island including Pueblo Espanyol, Port Adriano and Puerto Portals. The capital Palma is a wonderful place to shop but also to dine in some of the best restaurants in Europe.
January, sees the fabulous Three Kings celebrations with the one in Palma being the most spectacular. In the middle of the month there’s the San Sebastián Fiestas the patron saint of the capital with big bonfires and concerts occupying the main squares of the city, followed by the legendary fire runs.
February, sees the landscape transformed by almond blossoms with an almond blossom fair in Son Servera. Palma is a perfect City to celebrate Valentines.
March, Carnival arrives on the island with a huge procession in Palma and other celebrations across the island.
April, Easter falls in the middle of the month meaning an early start to the Summer.
Do I think this will happen? No, because they’re too blinkered and can’t see beyond the summer.
All that I said in May 2020. It’s alright saying something for the headlines, how about doing something about it instead?
Take care everyone and enjoy your Weekend!
Richie presents the Radio One Mallorca Breakfast show Monday to Friday 07.30-11.00am 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!
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