Thursday, August 16, 2007


Remember a few days ago - 7 and 8 August to be precise - and the stuff about how well restaurants were meant to be doing and about the “minority” of places that are suffering from all-inclusives. Minority, my arse. Well, here’s something more. “The Bulletin” runs an interesting piece today on a report by the local small and medium-sized businesses organisation. Limited though its poll was, the results of talking to 47 restaurants are clear enough: the majority of places on the island are doing less well than last year, with parts of Alcúdia and Can Picafort the worst affected. The blame is placed on two things - the late start of the high season (in mid-July) and all-inclusives.

I don’t know. I’ve always thought high season to mean from mid-July till end August, i.e. coincidental with UK school holidays. I’ve certainly never considered June to necessarily be high season. But be that as it may. From a common-sense perspective, one would have to believe that the all-inclusives are the main reason for less business. There are, however, other factors, like higher interest rates, and then there is one I have heard before, and it was confirmed this morning when I was having a chat with a neighbour who runs a place here. He was saying that May and June weren’t bad. July was ok, but August has been less good. I heard the same thing about July and August on the Greasy Mile yesterday. This neighbour has a clear view on the situation. It is the nature of the tourist. You would think - August, great, all those tourists knocking around, but think again. It’s that typical August tourist. As the neighbour says, that tourist does not have or spend very much money. He can understand it; so can I. Chap, family, two or three kids. If he’s British, he is almost forced to come in August since they got tough on taking kids out of school in term time. In August when the holidays themselves are at their most expensive.

The blame being attached to all-inclusives is understandable and undeniable, but - and I’ve said it before - all-inclusives are not the whole story. They are, in some ways, a convenient Aunt Sally. I have every sympathy with restaurant-owners whose businesses are suffering. I would rather there were no all-inclusives. But for that chap, that typical tourist with his family, the all-inclusive can be his route to affordability.

Something, one feels, has to give. And I’m not sure the results will be very pleasant.

Yesterday - Knew that Geoff, our ‘60s guru, would get The Nashville Teens. Strange name as they came from Surrey. Today’s title - in recognition of the less than good news on the restaurant front - whose song is it? And I’m not looking for Michael Jackson.


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