The Majorcan nationalist party, Union Mallorquina, that does not define itself as right or left but rather a centre hinge that can turn in either direction, is in charge of all building on Majorca, but has no official capacity for tourism.

I think that the ideas relating to tourism for the whole of Spain are in a sort of lagoon, a hazy lack of firm decision since there is no sole ministry for this obviously important economical area.

In the case of the Balearics there is a local ministry or 'Conselleria' ruled by Sr. Celesti Alomar of the Partido Socialista Obrero Español, the largest party of the Progress Pact here. Sra. Maria Antonia Munar, who was intrinsic in the signing of the pact, was given a succulent part of the cake share out, that of the presidency of the Majorcan council, with the power to incorporate non elected members of her party as “councillors” in charge of different areas, but she has no Councillor for Tourism.

Since one of her party's central issues is the protection of the Majorcan countryside, hoping to reduce the amount of building on rustic land they are very hot on controlling excess or illegal building.

Because of this, they refused Richard Branson permission to build extra houses in the property he bought in Banyalbufar, and finally did not approve the refurbishment of the house to create a top quality hotel, despite the fact that the local town council had voted in favour, as had local residents. Considering the property occupied a third of the total land area of Banyalbufar, one could hardly say that it was going to cause overbuilding in that part of the Tramuntana range. I know that selling Son Bunyola, and passing on The Residencia as part of the package of other properties sold to the Orient Express company were not only caused by the Majorcan Council's attitude, but it must have been “another nail in the coffin”.

The council has also insisted in the demolition of part of Boris Becker's house in Arta, no favouritism there, and more currently in the demolition of some rather luxurious but illegal houses in Lluc Alcari.

This is all part of their responsibilities.
But now they have announced publicly that they want more marinas and golf courses to improve the quality tourist offer. I don't think that their friends in the Progress Pact, that is particularly the Greens and the Communists, will be very pleased with that, even if the socialists may agree with her in their minds, they will have to please their mixed voters.

And now the Majorcan Council has launched a publicity campaign with a large sunny Smiley filling the hoardings saying Mallorca, OK! with Welcome in several languages. A total of 65 hoardings and posters in hundreds of bus stops, with a budget of 8'400 euros.

But surely, what Sra. Munar should be doing is her best to find a way of keeping the quality residents she had on this island, by encouraging them to bring other quality tourists to visit them. Hoardings are an eyesore, and do you really think that those who are driving along from the airport are going to be impressed by this welcome? A few years ago the tourist welcome campaign said “A tourist... a friend” ... in other words encouraging the local population to give a good welcome and treatment of the tourists. Something that used to be a natural commodity on the island and now rather absent unfortunately. Too many people dealing with the tourists treat them like a necessary medicine, something to be put up with but not enjoyed! The smile should be on the faces of the waiters, shopkeepers, bus drivers, taxi drivers, chamber maids, etc. etc., and not on a piece of cardboard.

Anne Kay

The impression that visitors are not welcome

Dear Sir,
I have just returned from a working holiday in Puerto Pollensa being the director of the English language web site www.puertopollensa.com. Whilst there we were very aware of the drastic reduction in tourist numbers which has been supported by various articles in your newspaper recently.

Unfortunately we do not feel that the tourist board is doing anything to improve the situation.
In the last few weeks we have received many requests for details of the programs for the various fiestas in the Pollensa area. Our visitors have found, as we have, that the Pollensa Town Council translates very few of its pages into English on its web site www.ajpollenca.net. The sole English page still shows activities for May. The web site for the “international” music festival of Pollensa www.festivalpollenca.org is solely in Spanish and Catalan.

We contacted the local tourist offices several times for the programs and eventually received an English language listing for the Puerto Pollensa fiesta albeit only 3 days in advance which we published. Similarly we received the program for the Pollensa “Patrona” only 2 days before the start. When we arrived we found that the only printed program for the Patrona was in Catalan (not even Spanish). We got the distinct impression that visitors were not welcome.

Whilst we fully understand that the primary language in Majorca is now Majorquin, the island is financially dependent on tourism and is currently suffering a crisis in that area. We all know that the British tourist is not renown for his fluency in foreign languages but many do try very hard to learn at least some Spanish. Surely Majorca should be doing everything it can to make its visitors feel welcome and invite them to join in with its celebrations.

Zelda Tolley. UK.

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