Monday, October 21, 2013

Mallorca's Forgotten Tourist Resorts

One of the clichés about football matches is that if you don't notice or hardly ever hear a commentator mention the referee, then the ref must be having a good match. He is getting on with what he's supposed to do, not making a rick and not drawing undue attention to himself.

If Mallorca's resorts were like football referees, then there are some which constantly do make a rick. For all the wrong reasons, the refs of Magalluf, Arenal, Playa de Palma and Cala Rajada have been too liberal with their red cards, have missed obvious penalties or offsides or have been conned by a dive. There are some resorts which do a degree of preening and bring attention to themselves. Alcúdia is one. It shouts about its marina and watersports, at the same time overlooking its Mile. But drawing attention is not as bad as making a rick, so long as the attention is merited.

As with the performance of the ref on the day, the reports in the papers the following day will make no mention of the man with the whistle if he has put in a solid and undemonstrative shift. Occasionally, he will be mentioned for having had a blinder: for rightly not issuing a red, for correctly not awarding a penalty and for not being conned by a dive. But usually it's the making of a rick which produces the reporter's column inches. Bad performance equals good copy.

So it also is with Mallorca's resorts. The reporting of them almost inevitably centres on the bad. Why? Well, what is there to be said about resorts that just get on with things, don't make a fuss and never experience any trouble? Of course, it isn't always the bad, which is why there are reports of the good. Alcúdia might be showing off when it shouts about its cruise ships arriving for the first time, but then why not.

But how many resorts ever really get mentioned? You would be forgiven for thinking sometimes that there were only about half a dozen, yet there are many more about which little is ever heard. These are the resorts which, like the sound-performing, undemonstrative ref, just get on with being resorts. If there is one thing wrong with some of them, it is that they don't indulge in more of the Alcúdia promo exercises. But then they don't all have cruise ships and supposedly award-winning marinas.

Some time ago, I wrote a piece about Mallorca's north-south divide in which I said that "if you are unfortunate enough to live right out on the east coast, you will know that, for all intents and purposes, you don't exist".

If one takes the east as stretching from Cala Rajada to Cala d'Or and Santanyí, ask yourself how often you ever hear about the east-coast resorts. Cala Rajada, yes, but mainly if you are German and you are concerned that it has become the New Arenal. Porto Cristo? Usually only when they are knocking bridges down. Other resorts?

If you take the three resorts along the bay of Alcúdia, their combined tourist population isn't that much lower than that in Calvià, which has the highest concentration of tourists and which attracts the greatest attention, mainly because Magalluf and to a lesser extent Santa Ponsa are considered to equate to Calvià when they quite plainly do not. But the bay of Alcúdia covers a fair distance. By comparison, the bay of Cala Millor, something of a misnomer admittedly, covers a far shorter distance. Yet, from Costa dels Pins to S'Illot there is a tourist population greatly in excess of Alcúdia on its own. In terms of tourist populations, it ranks third behind Calvià and Palma.

So why is so little heard of it? The reason lies with the ref analogy. It doesn't make a rick. There is no bad performance. Both police and politicians say that it is quiet. Nothing really happens other than tourists, in great numbers, getting on and enjoying themselves. There is, though, going to be a bit of showing-off. A tourist consortium has been formed by the two municipalities, Sant Llorenç and Son Servera, into which Cala Millor falls. It is something of a pioneering move for town halls to combine in order to undertake a joint promotional drive, one aimed at enhancing the bay as a tourist destination.

It's good. One can argue that it has taken the town halls a hell of a long time to get round to something as obvious as joint co-ordination and co-operation, but let's not be too critical. One fancies we'll be hearing more. And there won't be any ricks.

* Photo of Cala Millor from Wikipedia.

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