And so it was, after all, a record year. Mallorca and the Balearics received more visitors than at any time in the past, the Mallorcan numbers up by nearly 9% on last year, largely thanks to the Spanish and German markets. Moreover, spend was up, despite what everyone was saying. If businesses aren’t reaping the benefits then one has to draw certain conclusions, setting aside the all-inclusive influence: that there are too many businesses, and so demand is spread across too great a supply; or that prices are too high; or that quality isn’t that great. On 24 October, I reported that restaurant spend appeared to be down. So, if overall spend is up but that in restaurants is down - relatively - then perhaps it is a price issue.
A couple in Alcúdia who have been here for many a year and sampled many a restaurant maintain that, save for certain dishes in certain restaurants, they would not recommend one restaurant in Alcúdia. Bit harsh, I think, and these things do tend to be a tad subjective. But they also say that things are overpriced and that restaurants are cutting corners.
Whatever the reasons though, there is a dynamic at play that no-one seems able to explain satisfactorily. As next year is meant to be as good - in terms of numbers (or even a bit better if Thomas Cook can be believed), then maybe we will start to get some real answers.
One of this blog’s targets has been the state of some of the roads locally, e.g. the carretera from the Magic Roundabout in Puerto Alcúdia. Well, it seems that there is some fair bit of work going to be done. A report doesn’t actually say that it will be resurfaced - though it badly needs it - but that there will be the introduction of more crossing-points and a new roundabout at the top of the Greasy Mile. The crossing-points are fine; trouble is, no one takes much notice of them. But if the risk of crossing the carretera can be reduced, the road development is to be welcomed.
And today is the first anniversary of this blog. It is, and always will be, somewhat eclectic in its coverage; it is, and always will be, a mix of hard facts (albeit that they are subject to some scepticism), opinion, and a touch of - at times I hope - humour. It is also a reflection of things that I am told, some of which have to be discarded as tittle-tattle or downright libels.
Anyway, I’ve looked at the index entries that are presented each month, and which I guess give a flavour of some of the more important topics I deal with and also some of the relatively shortlived ones and some of the less likely. The two most frequently indexed subjects for the year were weather and tourism economics, the latter being one of the reasons for starting the blog - namely to look to try and create something of a reference for what is such an important issue locally. Other regular entries were for driving and accidents (much of it shameful), all-inclusives (which some also categorise as shameful), and smoking/tobacco (and that was a “burning” topic for much of the last 12 months).
Those subjects that lasted only a fairly brief time were jellyfish, and the invasion that never was, and the World Cup, especially the bizarre coverage on the La Sexta television channel. Then there were some “targets”, such as Stupid Fat White Men (and the obesity issue) and “holiday brains” as well as baby buggies and beach tents, the ensaimada, Ecuadorean pipe musicians, the Garbi hole, and Elvis impersonators.
One topic that ran for much of the 12 months was the Pollensa branding exercise and the website - www.pollensa.com - which finally, after much slagging-off here, seems to now be available in different languages.
There was sadness - much of it to do with road deaths - the boys killed near to the Cala San Vicente turn, the Thomson reps run down in Puerto Alcúdia - and then there was the passing-away of Manolo of Costa Nord, the death (in a road accident) of William Giverin Sr., and the departure from the local scene of Ben Layton (and Michelle) and Liliane Delmas.
And finally there were mentions of bars, cafés, restaurants, shops, hotels etc. - not all of them honourable but usually so. Here’s the roll-call of those establishments that have been name-checked here: Algar, Bar Mallorca, Bar Pepe, Barquita, Brunel, Bon Camí, Bony, Boy, Burger King, Caliu, Calvari, Campsa Garage, Can Tomas, Canny Lad, Cas Capella, Chess, Chivas, Club Pollença, Colber, Columbus, Comics, Costa Nord, Crédito Balear, Cultural, Dakota Tex-Mex, Dreams, El 7, El Mojito, Epcot, Eroski Syp, Foxes, Galeria Joan XXIII, Gran Café (in both Puerto Alcúdia and Puerto Pollensa, the former now L’Illa), Guru, Habitacle, Hospital d’Alcúdia, Hotels/Aparthotels etc - Alcúdia Pins, Alcúdia Suite, Bellevue, Club Mac, Coral de Mar, Daina, Delfin Azul, Don Pedro, Dunas Park, Eden Playa, Estrella de Sur, Flora, Garden Lago, Habitat, Iberostars, La Moraleja, Lagomonte, Las Gaviotas, Niu, Orquidea Playa, Parc Natural, Playa Esperanza, Playa Garden, Pollensa Park, Siestas, Sunwing Resort, Viva Alcúdia Sun Village, Viva Bahía - Iona, Irish Tavern, JKs, Jam Bar, Jokers, Juma, Kashmir, Kudos, La Sala, L’Illa, Lineker’s, Little Britain, Llomgar, MM Foods, Makassar, Mestizo, Mulligans, Nag’s Head, Neptuno, O’Hara’s, Olivers, Open Holidays, Rancho Grande, Rose and Crown (which was closed all summer), Sa Pobla Cricket Club, Sa Taverneta d’es Moll, Scuba Mallorca, Special Divers, Tango, Temple, Tiberi, Tukys, U Gallet, Vogue Properties.
And who has had a personal name-check? Here is a list of local folk, celebs, dead people, bands that have all appeared during the past 12 months:
Bryan Adams; Florian Albert (former Hungarian footballer); Luis Aragones; Danny Baker; Julie and Michel, Barquita; The Beach Boys; David Beckham; Captain Beefheart; Ben, formerly of Jacks and Comics; Richie Benaud; Alastair Black, Germany; Tony Blair; Suzanne, Bon Camí; Garry Bonsall; Francesc de Borja Moll; Cati, Boy; Manuel Bragado (“Estrella del Sur”); Marcus Brigstocke; Gordon Brown; John and Em, Brunel; Graham Burgess (former cricketer); George W. Bush; Mick Channon; Ian, Chess/El 7/Iona; Christian, Campsa Garage; Billy Cobham; Christopher Columbus; Julio and Matt, Comics; Chick Corea; Manolo, Costa Nord; Mateu Crespí (politician); Marjorie Dawes; Jack Dee; Liliane Delmas, Aguafun; Francisca Díauno de Abril (April Fool); Michael Douglas; Paco, Dreams; Michael, Epcot; Samuel Eto’o; Enrique Fajarnés (politician); Percy Faith and his Orchestra; Joan Flaquer (Balearic Minister for Tourism); Louise Foster, Vogue Properties; James and Karen, Foxes; General Franco; Fresh Prince of Bel Air; Geralt (director of Crédito Balear branch that was closed after a raid); George Giri (“Daily Bulletin”); William Giverin, Kudos; Monica Gonzalez (“Ultima Hora”); Tim Hames (“The Times”); Jimi Hendrix; Ian Hislop; Jane and Kevin, JKs; Simon Jenkins (“The Times”); Josep, Pollensa Tourist Office; Anatole Kaletsky (“The Times”); Gabriel, Kashmir; King Juan Carlos; Jürgen Klinsmann; Anna Kournikova; Trevor and Stuart, La Sala; Riki Lash (“Daily Bulletin”); Leapy Lee; Gary Lineker; Wayne Lineker; Aurora, Tony, Steve, all of Little Britain; Dave and Polly, MM Foods; Juan, Makassar and Tiberi; The Mamas and the Papas; Tomas, Marinas in Cala San Vicente; Jaume Matas (leader of the Balearic Government); Ian McEwan; Kenneth McKellar; Jonathan Meades; Lt-Gen Mena; Jim Morrison; María Antonia Munar (head of the Mallorca council); Mungo Jerry; Rupert Murdoch; Ardal O’Hanlon; Mick et al, Olivers; Matthew Parris (“The Times”); Pau, Supermarket Colber; Jonathan Pearce; Graham Philips (letter writer to the “Daily Bulletin”); Elvis Presley; Gori, Rancho Grande; The Residents; Cliff Richard; Right Said Fred; The Rubettes; Manu, Sa Taverneta d’es Moll; Julio Salinas; Pere Sampol (politician); Martin Samuel (“The Times”); Sant Sebastià; Maria Sharapova; Sandie Shaw; The Style Council; Sylvia; Derek Taylor (former cricketer); Hugh Thomas (author); The Thompson Twins; Throbbing Gristle; Fred Trueman; Brian Wilson; Harold Wilson; Steve Wright; Mike Yarwood; The Young Rascals; José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero
Index for October 2006
Bars - 6 October 2006
Bonsall, Garry - 19 October 2006
Can Ramis - 19 October 2006
Car-rental tax - 26 October 2006
Cycling - 6 October 2006
Driving - 2 October 2006, 6 October 2006, 18 October 2006
Elvis Presley impersonators - 3 October 2006
Energy - 29 October 2006
Ensaimada - 22 October 2006
Environment - 29 October 2006
Fire station - 18 October 2006
Foreign Office - 10 October 2006
Gotmar - 19 October 2006
Noise - 6 October 2006
Obesity - 12 October 2006
Palma Airport - 6 October 2006
Parking - 19 October 2006
“Part Forana” - 19 October 2006
Payment - 24 October 2006
Power station - 29 October 2006
Rape - 10 October 2006, 12 October 2006
Rental-accommodation regulations - 18 October 2006
Restaurants - 24 October 2006
Road accidents - 6 October 2006, 29 October 2006
Ryanair - 6 October 2006
Season’s end - 19 October 2006, 30 October 2006
Speeding - 18 October 2006
Tobacco selling - 26 October 2006, 29 October 2006
Tourism economics - 11 October 2006, 18 October 2006, 22 October 2006, 24 October 2006
Trafico - 2 October 2006, 6 October 2006
Weather - 2 October 2006, 10 October 2006, 12 October 2006, 22 October 2006, 26 October 2006, 30 October 2006