Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Tobacco Road

Reasons to be cheerful, part three. Yes, more reassuring numbers on the tourism front. September and October are due to be excellent, apparently. The September prediction for Mallorca suggests a rise of almost 4% over last year, with hotel occupation at 90%. October will be roughly the same as last year - at 60% occupancy. Lovely, lovely statistics.

You may not remember, so I will remind you. One of the reasons for stopping tourist supermarkets selling tobacco in bulk and letting the licensed tobacconists have the market to themselves was that this would improve health. In fact I think it was THE reason. Well, what do you know, the value of tobacco sales in the Balearics has increased by near enough 12% over the same period last year, a rise only partly explained by an increase in tax.

The fact is that, while the Government may have had a concern for the health of the indigenous population, it is quite happy for the rest of Europe to cough and cough up for something that is incredibly cheap by comparison with other countries. Average UK prices are 205% higher than Spanish.

I never bought this whole health argument when the right to sell tobacco was taken away from the supermarkets. And I still don’t. All it has done is to make it a bit more inconvenient for tourists to buy, but they still carry on buying. All this stuff about tourist spend, how much of it goes on tobacco? Now that would be an interesting statistic.

Here is the news from Alcúdia: the item for the town in today’s “Ultima Hora”. It concerns a manhole cover on the Via Corneli Atic (which is the road that links the Magic and Horse Roundabouts). Apparently it moves if vehicles go across it at sufficiently high speed. Can’t say I have noticed, but there again I try and miss all manhole covers here in any event. Of course it could be dangerous. Otherwise though, there is no news.

Yesterday - “Sometimes (Lester Piggott)” by James. No, I never understood what the Lester Piggott thing was about either. Today’s title. It was a hit for which ‘60s British act.


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