Sunday, October 01, 2017

Mallorca Tourism In Another Life

Goodness me, what a rumpus that was, and all over a simple inauguration of a convention centre. There again, President Abril should really have thought twice about hiring Ant and Dec to replace the duties performed in former times by the royal couple. For starters, it wasn't as if either Ant or Dec could speak Catalan, but then there was also the whole business about the tourist tax. Ant and Dec are admittedly reasonably well-heeled but even they took exception to being accommodated in the five-star Més Palma Bay Hotel and having to fork out the new rate. One thousand five hundred euros a night? Each!? They were having a laugh - Més Hotels International, that is - until someone pointed out that President Abril had decreed the new rate that very afternoon.

Still, the entertainment didn't go all badly, which was just as well for such an auspicious occasion: the inauguration of the newly expropriated and renamed Palacio Popular de Congresos, the People's Palace. If there was any criticism, it was to do with how long it all went on for, such as the eight hours devoted to ximbomba playing, ball de bot and a glosador contest. When Ant and Dec were finally brought out, it was well into the early hours and there was a further delay because of a slight commotion outside when an Emaya municipal services agency biomass-driven dustcart blew up and took the recently erected Antoni Noguera Monument with it.

There had been some debate as to what to call the show. Should it be I'm A Cacique, Throw Me Out Of Here or I'm A Hotelier, Throw Me Out Of Here? In the end, the online citizen's consultation decided that the two meant the same thing, and the show itself centred on where leading former hoteliers should be sent into exile. With the Escarrers there was a clear and obvious choice. Panama it was to be. So, they were escorted from the building, shoved into one of the electric-powered armoured vehicles belonging to the Esquadra Policia de Balears (the formation of which had been an early initiative of President Abril), taken to the airport and put on the first available MésAir flight to Central America (economy class).

Despite this having been such a lengthy occasion, most of those attending returned to the People's Palace the following evening. This was for the Night of Sustainable Tourism. And another glorious event it was, too. The palace could just about have accommodated the entire year's worth of tourists, as President Abril remarked triumphantly before proceeding to hand out the awards.

There was a special one for a group of schoolchildren from Inca and their project Biodegradability and the Problem of Inflatable Beach Dinosaurs, while GOB swept the board for its various initiatives. One of these was at the Més Calvia Beach Resort in Magalluf, where GOB had been behind the scheme to repopulate the edifices with endangered black vultures.

Particular applause was reserved for the Hotel Chambermaids Collective which had been placed in charge of the Mésbnb network. This is the series of new refuges built in the Tramuntana where tourists can stay and enjoy rustic Mallorcan living (at a reduced tourist tax rate) with particular emphasis on education regarding the local flora and fauna. There was praise indeed for one aspect of this educational programme - the Habits and Habitats of the Mallorcan Mountain Goat.

Afterwards, everyone trooped off home, commenting that the Night of Sustainable Tourism had been a success and had highlighted the great achievements of President Abril in establishing such sustainability and a new model of tourism and indeed a new economic model that had broken with the monoculture of tourism. They walked the streets of old Palma, looked over at the port, which was all but deserted save for the impounded Harmony of the Seas that had been converted into accommodation for all those who had been evicted for mortgage defaults, and then joined the soup kitchens, the queues for which had given a new meaning to the word saturation.

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