Sunday, August 23, 2009

Falling Down

Falling, falling, everything falling. All sorts of things falling. Where to start? Shall we begin with next year? Maybe we should, and just forget about this one. Only problem is it is still falling - it being the demands from the tour operators to the local hoteliers to drop their prices for next summer by 20%. There is the sound of contract papers being shuffled and also of negotiations across the meeting table. Who holds the whip hand? The tour operators. How things have changed. Once was the time when the hotels could more or less name their price. Not now they can't. The hotels may have to bring their prices down, but how much will the tour operators drop theirs?

Let's keep to this year then, shall we? Try this one. The number of foreign tourists to the Balearics between January and July has fallen by 420,000, or 7.3% if you prefer. The Brits are down by 16.2%, a figure that does rather concur with one reported in Alcúdia of around 20%.

Then there is one of the tourism service sectors - coaches. That 20% figure is in play again. This is the decline in the number of passengers being ferried around the island. The operators have reduced their fleets accordingly, the fall in demand caused by fewer arrivals at the airport needing transfers but also by a tumble in those going on excursions - the actual figure for that is down by 30%, which is higher than that which was being reported earlier this month (20%, always 20% it seems - 4 August: Big Night Out). And this despite the problems of supply in the car-hire sector.

And then there is the export of footwear. Not a tourist industry of course, but one of the few other meaningful industries on the island. The fall here is 11%, or was during the first four months of the year. To give an impression of the value of this industry, here is the actual value of that export (for these four months) - a bit over 44 and a half million euros. Oh well, never mind, when they eventually, if they eventually finish that footwear museum in Inca, that will give the industry a shot in the arm, or is that a shot in the foot, shooting itself in the foot - whatever.

Still on the prices issue. There was yet another damn letter in "The Bulletin" about the cost of car hire. Now clearly this is an issue that troubles a number of people - about half a dozen at any rate who have written to the paper - and if it is such an issue, why is there no investigation as to what is going on? By which I mean, might the paper not wish to go and talk to the people who matter, the agencies themselves and their association, in order to give a picture as to what really is the situation, rather than leaving it to letter-writers with their bits of half-information, opinion and disgruntlement? Maybe it will, but it would be surprising. It doesn't do investigation, and yet here is a subject that is causing much discussion and which is deserving of a proper piece of journalism.

Yesterday's title - The Smiths, "Hand In Glove", (And Sandie Shaw covered it with The Smiths minus Stephen Patrick.) Special word to Bruce who got both parts. Today's title - who?


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