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Established in Palma of Majorca in 1962

Tuesday 28 July, 2015 Edition #4725

Editorial: A new era

By Jason Moore

The last Partido Popular government insisted that government debt had to be cut and embarked on a major round of spending cuts. The new regional government led by the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE)has said that they will not increase the debt but they will not curtail their spending plans. In other-words they will be spending rather than saving. One senior PSOEfigure said that if a new school was needed then it would be built, heralding the end of austerity in the Balearics. It must be remembered that the Balearics still has an important debt mountain which the previous administration were allegedly seeking to reduce. But Imust admit the end of austerity will be welcomed locally. Cuts, cuts and more cuts have been the order of the day for the last four years. The new government appears to be willing to spend, spend and spend and they have already taken aim at visiting tourists with  their controversial tourist tax. But, this coalition government appear to have learnt their lesson and will not be rushing into the controversial levy. Also, they want to have everyone aboard before they introduce it. Properly planned and executed the tourist tax could be a success as long as tourists are kept informed and realise that the money is being used to improve the island they love. So the end of austerity is on the horizon. It is rather refreshing but at the same time rather concerning, we need to balance the books before we can start spending.

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130,000 people call for end of bullfighting in Palma


The anti-bullfighting campaign group Mallorca Sense Sang (Majorca Without Blood) will this morning present its petition for the abolition of bullfighting at the town hall in Palma. The petition has over 130,000 signatures and the timing of the presentation is to coincide with the council meeting on Thursday at which it is expected that the city’s council will declare Palma to be anti-bullfighting.
The group’s ultimate goal is for the regional parliament to ban bullfighting in the Balearics. Its co-ordinator, Guillermo Amengual, has noted that for the first time in history there is the level of support for such a ban which now exists, further evidence of which are the declarations of 19 Majorcan municipalities against bullfighting that have been made in less than a year. Palma’s declaration will count on the support of the parties in the council’s governing pact - PSOE, Més and Som Palma.
“Today the only enemies of animals in Majorca are the Partido Popular and Cuidadanos,” says Amengual. “On 24 May, people voted for a change, and that change happens to be for an end to the torture and death in the name of entertainment.”

Red Cross hotline on red alert over the heat wave in Balearics


By Andrew Ede

The Balearic Red Cross (Cruz Roja Baleares) is receiving an average of more than 700 phone calls a week from those seeking advice to prevent suffering from the effects of heat. On 15 June the charity launched its campaign “Ola de Calor” (Heatwave), an information service (plus home visits) directed principally at older people concerned about problems caused by the excessive heat.  The objective of the campaign, that will last until 25 September, is to ensure that those who are most vulnerable to the heat stay healthy.  During the summer months, therefore, Cruz Roja volunteers are on hand at the different contact centres to offer advice via a free helpline - 900 22 22 99. These contact centres are in Felanitx, Manacor, Palma and Soller as well as in Minorca and Ibiza.  The service is free to any of those in the highest-risk categories - the elderly, pregnant women, those with chronic illnesses and people with disabilities.   The charity is also organising briefings in day centres and old people’s associations by issuing sensible advice, such as drinking plenty of liquids with an intake of between 100 and 150 millilitres every 20 minutes, wearing lightweight and light-coloured clothing as well as comfortable and breathable footwear, eating lightly (fruit, vegetables) and using fans and hats.   In 2014, a similar campaign attended to 1,751 people. This number will be exceeded this summer, thanks to the availability of some 70 volunteers from the local Cruz Roja network.  

Council of Majorca wants tourist tax cash

Following the lead of the city council in Palma, which has made a pitch for some of the revenue raised from the tourist eco-tax to be made available for tourism projects there, the president of the Council of Majorca, Miquel Ensenyat, has said that it should also be a participant. The tax aims to invest in tourism products to make the Balearics more sustainable and competitive, and priority targets, Ensenyat believes, should be those for which the Council has certain responsibilities - heritage, culture and the landscape. In addition, as the Council seems set to assume devolved responsibilities from the regional government for tourism promotion and organisation, it is even more imperative that a portion of the tax revenue should be managed by the Council.  Ensenyat is convinced that there will be goodwill on behalf of the government in order to arrive at an agreement as to how proceeds from the tax will be applied, given that the tax will enhance the richness and marketing of tourist products, something in which the Council wishes to participate in directly through activities related to, among others, walking and cycling. Targets he has identified as potential beneficiaries include the mills of the Sant Jordi area of Palma and their restoration as well as routes for gastronomy and the island’s ethnology.  The president, who is the ex-mayor of Esporles in the Tramuntana, has announced that the Council is working on the organisation of a European Meeting of “Excursionists” in 2016 - either in spring or autumn - with the aim of promoting further the hiking routes of Majorca. This is one of a series of actions related to the environment that are planned for next year and which could represent a “very important” form of promotion for Majorca.

Tourist spending in the Balearics rises by almost five percent


International tourists who came to the Balearics in the first six months of the year spent 3,750 million euros, a 4.8% increase, according to the national ministry of tourism’s Egatur survey of tourist spend.
The Balearics accounted, therefore, for 13.3% of tourist spending for the whole of Spain (the total was 28,287 million), which placed it fourth among the regions of the country. Catalonia was at the top with 22.6%.
Each foreign tourist in the Balearics spent an average of 853 euros, a rise of almost 4% compared with January to June 2014. The daily spend was 112 euros, which was up by 6.5%. In June alone, the volume of international tourist spend was 1,579 million, a rise of 2.9% over June last year. For this month, the Balearics was second among the various regions, accounting for 24.4% of all spend in Spain and only just behind Catalonia (24.5%).
The figure for the whole country - 28,287 million - was up by 7.4%. Of different markets, Asian countries and the US were those with the highest growth rates (around 26%), followed by Italy with 18.7%. American visitors have made themselves leaders in terms of average spend, with each tourist spending 2,419 euros. In absolute terms, however, the UK was the market leader. Its tourists spent a total of 5,727 million euros, an increase of almost 10%, followed by Germany with 4,416 million.
With regard to different types of accommodation, visitors in hotels spent 18,388 million euros, which represented a 5% rise, 65% of all tourist spend coming from those in hotels. Spending by those who stayed in non-hotel accommodation was, relatively speaking, higher: a total of 9,899 million was up by 12.2%.

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