Wednesday, May 30, 2007


Seasoned viewers of this blog will know that two of the issues I have paid particular attention to are road accidents/deaths and all-inclusive hotels.

I’m sorry to say that both have have reared their ugly heads once again (and I say “ugly” in respect of all-inclusives only because I have strong first-hand experience of the deleterious effects they have on friends). No flippancy today.

There are more flowers on the roadside. These heartbreaking tributes. These pitiable monuments to loss. These flowers adorn the hedge just up the road from me in Playa de Muro - on the carretera. They are there because of the crash around 7:30 last Saturday morning. I didn’t go and look. I just heard the peeping of the police, the sirens, the revving of engines caught in a jam. I had no need to look. I did once when I heard the crash right outside a couple of years back. When I helped a neighbour with a hose. When I saw firemen cutting the car bodies. I had no need to look again.

I spoke to a local policeman about it a few days later. “Fatal,” he said. That’s pronounced “fatahl” here. Yes this means fatal, but it also means awful. That’s what he meant.

“El Defensor del Pueblo” is how the Ombudsman is called here. El Defensor has decreed that he will not approve any regulation against all-inclusive hotels in the Balearics.

Let me be clear. I have no axe to grind with all-inclusives. I have said it before that they represent not only good value but also consumer choice. Indeed it offends me - as a believer in the free market - that the all-inclusive and the primacy of the consumer should or could be undermined by governmental action that limits this free market and choice. But.

I know an awful lot of people here. An awful lot of people who run bars and restaurants. I know an awful lot of stories about the effects of all-inclusives.

Perhaps I should harden my heart. Accept the dynamics of the market. I do, but I also don’t.


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