Why has this been allowed to happen? There is only one word for the scenes at Palma airport on Thursday night: disgraceful. I think Majorca is losing that one vital ingredient which has made it so successful for so long, the warm and friendly smile. Tourists were catered for at the airport, they were provided with a blanket, a sandwich and a drink. But that was it. Why couldn't the local government, and all the other countless government bodies who claim they know about tourism, have taken some action? Everyone knew that there would be 5'000 tourists at the airport. Entertainment should have been provided for passengers of all ages stranded at the airport. It wouldn't have hurt the local government to offer free drink and food to the hard-hit passengers and children could have been offered some form of gift to ease their discomfort. A proper nursery should have been set up for children. It wouldn't have hurt the leader of the Balearic Government to have gone to the airport to see for himself the situation. The only real information service being provided to keep tourists and travellers up-to-date was the Bulletin hotline. Tourists were completely in the dark and didn't have a clue what was happening. We received hundreds of calls on our hotline from all over Europe. I wouldn't dare to reproduce what many of them said, because it would make very depressing reading.

This strike should never have gone ahead but the local authorities should have made the best of a very bad situation. Tourist are not cattle who can be bused and taken anywhere with little explanation. They are the people who have made this island one of the wealthiest places in Europe. I feel this has been forgotten. Industrial disputes are one thing but firm and positive action was needed to counterbalance the effects of this wicked strike.

It is quite laughable to hear the local authorities, talking about going upmarket and trying to reduce tourism. And of course there is the famous tourist tax. Many of the people I spoke to at the airport said that they would not be returning. I am sure that some survey will be released over the next week saying that the majority of holidaymakers were not really affected by the strike and after all, industrial disputes happen all over Europe etc. But this is not the point. This island used to be known as the isla de la calma. I sincerely hope that those days will soon return.

Majorca is a fantastic place but our principal industry is being milked to the bone. Perhaps the city council should re-launch its campaign, a tourist a friend. And I don't think any local government official should moan about buses clogging up the road, because yesterday there weren't any.

I would like to end this viewpoint on a high note. Praise for the reps who were definitely in the front line and if the effects of the strike are not severe, then it will be thanks to them.

Jason Moore

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