Thursday, September 20, 2007

In The Dead Of Night

Extraordinary stuff going on on Playa de Muro beach. The story about the sunbeds situation has cropped up a couple of times already this summer, the most recent being 1 September: “Oh Superman Where Are You Now?” in which I mentioned the fact that Muro council face fines for the over-provision of sunbeds and beach umbrellas. Well now, and not for the first time, things have turned a tad ugly.

One of the concessionaires operating the sunbed lots has had more of his sunbeds slashed. This occurred yesterday some time during the early morning. This concessionaire has had a total of 574 sunbeds wrecked. It will have cost him, he says, 40,000 euros to repair them.

The apparent criminality of these actions is one thing, the other is the potential damage it does to reputation. Imagine if you happen to come down to the beach one morning only to find that sunbeds are unavailable because someone has come along and cut them up in the dead of night. Doesn’t sound too appealing. It does sound as though someone needs to get a grip on the situation.

Back to the future. Following the claim put forward in the last piece on this blog regarding a potential doubling of the number of tourists by 2020, the Balearic Government’s conference, under the title “Plan Turismo 2020”, has moved to increase “added value” in the tourist sector with fewer tourists and higher income. A strategic centrepiece of this is an investigation into the role of development and innovation into increasing the quality and sustainability of the islands’ tourist model. The Government, it would seem, is also keen to promote hotel tourism over residential, about which I have reported before, not least in connection with the registration requirements being placed on holiday lets (itself in part driven by the hotel industry).

The thing is that we have been here before. Higher-quality tourism, less overall tourism and more money. It’s as if the tape is on constant loop. As one who used to be steeped in management and business speak in a previous publishing guise, I have become inured to much of this speak, not to say downright cynical. Added value, strategic positioning ... grand words and phrases. And when governments assume the language of the MBA I become even more sceptical (and I actually have an MBA qualification). The question is where’s the beef.

From what I can make out of the participation at this conference, it is not clear if certain stakeholders (sorry, management speak) are being engaged, such as the representatives of the restaurants, bars, shops etc. And what of the tourist himself? Whilst governments can, if they so wish, switch on or off the level of tourism, ultimate power lies in the market, namely the consumer (the tourist) and the tour operator.

(Source for some of these two items: “Ultima Hora”.)

Last time. Test tube babies. Geoff puts it at 6565, which would mean that Zager and Evans were only some 4,500 years out. But, hey, it’s only rock ‘n’ roll. Today’s title - what sang in the dead of night?


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