Mallorca in Winter, why not?

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Once again a massive thanks for all the feedback on my column and blog from last weekend. The video we shared by Rocky Reborn was seen over 9,000 times and shared 500 times on Facebook. In a week that is amazing numbers and far outstrips the official Mallorca Tourist Board video. This was by no means a competition, I wanted to highlight what I thought was a lazy, boring video that did nothing to promote our island in a good way. By the reaction we got most of you agreed with me.
Let me take you back to January and to Fitur, the annual tourism fair in Madrid. The Balearic President Francina Armengol, and the Tourism Minister, Iago Negueruela we’re pushing out the message for action against Tourismophobia and the challenge of sustainability. They wanted to avoid saturation and the negative effects that it causes on destinations, particularly in Palma, where it generates complaints from social and environmental groups.
In February the tourism of excesses decree was passed, the objectives of this were “to protect the Balearics from certain excesses and to ensure that the islands offer an agreeable experience and that no one is confronted by situations that they would not tolerate in their own country”. The Tourism Minister explained at the time.
Fast forward three months and halfway into May and you can say that their plans have been a success. We don’t have any saturation or drunken tourism as unfortunately we don’t have any tourists. The Coronavirus has completely wiped out everything. So where’s the recovery plan? Well let’s encourage the Spanish to holiday here from the mainland they say, even though some parts of Spain have been badly affected by Covid19. Any bar, restaurant, cafe, shop or excursion will tell you, no thanks they don’t spend any money in resort. Ok don’t worry we’re speaking to the Germans. Maybe a better option as the cases there have been a lot lower than other countries. However, any bar, restaurant, cafe, shop or excursion will tell you again, no thanks they don’t spend any money in resort. What the island needs, as it always has for the thirty years I’ve lived here is the UK market.
The problem is at the moment the UK isn’t really helping itself. After not locking down as heavily as here in Spain they’ve got the highest death rate currently in Europe. One thing we often forget is that the UK is an island obviously with a much larger population than Mallorca but still able to shut its borders. So why bring in after a six week lockdown a two week quarantine? Damage is already done. Not helped also this week by the Health Secretary saying “it was unlikely that Britons would be able to enjoy an international summer holiday because of the coronavirus.” Great, just what the tourist industry wanted to hear.
So as I said last week we may have a summer but it’s going to be very short.
The subject of winter tourism was mentioned to me in feedback last week. To be honest this would be the perfect time to do it. Surely the Government would want as many people off the ERTE(furlough) and PARO(unemployment benefit)and working, with businesses paying into the system? When I arrived here in 1990 there was a thriving winter tourism market but gradually over the years that was left to dwindle away. You’ll get the age old arguement that it’s not warm enough. Well it’s a lot warmer than the UK and if you go across the water to Benidorm, their winters are packed and with the same temperatures as ours.
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 Segunda B.
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 which falls on a Sunday in 2021, so perfect for a romantic weekend away.
March, Carnival arrives on the island with a huge procession in Palma and other celebrations across the island.
April, Easter falls right at the beginning of the month meaning an early start to the Summer with business being able to begin clawing back the losses of 2020.
Do I think this will happen? No, because they’re too blinkered and can’t see beyond the summer. But we’re in a “new norm” and we can hope.
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!
Follow him on Twitter @DadTaxi1 & Instagram @dad.taxi or feel free to email him at rprior@globobalear.com

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