Questions Need To Be Asked

Firstly thank you for all your comments and emails after last weeks column. I wrote it to raise awareness of the fact that we seem to be being duped into believing that Mallorca is open in the winter.

Another story to come back from the World Travel Market was the tourist tax. The opposition party PP were telling anyone that wanted to hear that they would scrap it if they were elected in 2023. 

The tourist tax was introduced on the 1st of July 2016 by the current Government. In principal I support it, if it does what it was supposedly set up to do. However since then, there has been nothing but rows about it. Let’s remember what it was set up for by the Government, environmental preservation and recuperation, promoting low-season tourism, tourism promotion, development of tourism infrastructures, rehabilitation of cultural heritage, research and development related to tourism and economic diversification, improvements to the quality of employment and training in the tourism sector. The main bone of contention was what the money was actually being spent on. Now you have to search long and hard for the projects that have been chosen and also in some cases, ask yourself does this really come under the banner of helping future tourism?

The following story was covered by my colleague Andrew Ede this week in the paper but as I’m involved in both of the industries, tourism and radio I felt I had to comment. Firstly, hands up if you knew Ed Sheeran was on the island last Friday? Well I have to be honest and say I did but only because a couple of listeners to the radio had asked me where they could get tickets for the event he was going to. But there weren’t any available and I hadn’t ever seen them on sale anywhere. Now I’ve been lucky enough to see Ed Sheeran perform three times. Twice here in Mallorca at the Mallorca Rocks venue and once at Wembley Stadium. This time though unfortunately he wasn’t here to sing but to be a part of an awards ceremony that also had nominees such as Sam Smith, David Guetta, Dua Lipa, Shawn Mendes and Justin Bieber. Although strangely, Sheeran was the only one that was there from the International side. This was all taking place at the cycling velodrome in Palma. Ah, the cycling velodrome, remember that was the building whose construction costs in back in the 2000’s rose inexplicably from 48 million to 110 million euros. It was later part of a court case that sent the former PP President Jaime Matas to six years in jail. It was built so badly that Investigations around the construction of the velodrome revealed more than 220 deficiencies in the works despite its costs spiraling out of control. It wasn’t supposed to be just a cycling velodrome, it was meant to host events and concerts. I helped organise a couple of concerts there, in 2008, Deep Purple and 2009 Status Quo. Whilst organising those gigs, we discovered that you weren’t able to hang a lighting or sound rig from the roof, which you should have been able to do but it wasn’t built strongly enough. Therefore you had to build your own. Building your own though meant you had blind spots to the stage which there wouldn’t have been if you could hang everything from the roof. Also the acoustics inside were awful, which was another thing they hadn’t thought about. 

So the Velodrome itself has a cloudy history but wait until you hear this. The event in question was Los 40 Music Awards. Los 40 is a Spanish radio station which was formerly called Los 40 Principales, it is a Chart musical radio network and radio station brand in many Spanish-speaking countries. The awards were a little like The Brits in the UK, with categories for Spanish, Latino and International music. A claim made by the environmentalists Terraferida was that the the Awards in Palma last Friday benefitted from funding from the tourist tax revenue to the tune of 580,000€! Closer reading of the publicity shows at the bottom, although quite small some Government agency logos  including “Islas Baleares Sostenibles” This is the website providing all the necessary information on the Sustainable Tourism Tax in the Balearic Islands. This enables residents of the Balearic Islands and tourists or project managers alike to know how the Sustainable Tourism Tax works and everything that it entails. 

Now the Government will tell you this was to help show the island was still open for business and to help employment in the winter. Yet I don’t know any tourists or even any residents who went to the event and I think you’d be even harder pushed to find many that actually knew about it either. 

You could say of course the promotion of the event got loads of press, showing Mallorca open in winter. Especially if it was featuring Ed Sheeran who right now has 3 songs in the top 10 in the UK Charts. Well locally yes but in the UK absolutely nothing. Again you have to question why tourist tax money was spent on this event? Surely there’s better ways of spending half a million euros? Well not according to this Government. I do hope questions are being asked. 

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! 

Follow him on Twitter @DadTaxi1 & Instagram @dad.taxi or feel free to email him at rprior@globobalear.com 

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