Friday, January 31, 2014

A Gay Fuss About Nothing In Ibiza

LGTB tourism - lesbian, gay, transsexual, bisexual tourism - equates to ten per cent of global tourism but to fifteen per cent of global tourism spend. The gay tourism market is one characterised by good spenders. It is a market which is increasingly attractive to destinations and to tour operators, and a mark of its importance as a tourism sector was to be found at Madrid's Fitur travel fair where Fitur Gay was one of six specific areas of tourism and travel interest in addition to the main fair.

Mallorca doesn't have a reputation for gay tourism. Certainly not by comparison with, say, Benidorm, Sitges or Ibiza. The Council of Mallorca probably wouldn't see a huge advantage from getting involved with a video to promote gay tourism. The Council of Ibiza, on the other hand, has seen such an advantage. A four-minute video - "Ibiza, LGTB Friendly" - has been placed on the island's official tourism promotion website and on the Council's Facebook page. It is a video that I wouldn't have watched had it not been for the fact that it has been denounced.

Were you unaware of any complaint about this video, you might have looked at it and thought that it was what you might have expected and then thought no more of it. The music - a kind of Coldplay oh-oh-oh stadium singalong (lyric, "moving at the speed of light" as opposed to sound) meets a bit of Avicii club style - is frankly pretty dire and is therefore in keeping with the awful music that typically accompanies promotional videos. There are scenes of beaches, drinks, bars, food, people in a car. All unexceptional. Yes, there are a lot of pecs, six packs and bare torsos (male and female) and a spot of same-sex getting up close but not overly personal, but then promotional videos for a non-gay market might just as easily feature the same sort of images with one obvious difference.

The "denuncia" of the video, one which apparently portrays Ibiza as a "Bacchanalian island", has come from an organisation to which I have drawn attention in the past. It is the Instituto de Política Familiar de Baleares, the institute of family policy. Knowing that it was this institute which had been doing the complaining was all I needed to know prior to even seeing the video. I was not going to be exposed to any Bacchanalian scenes.

The institute has demanded the withdrawal of the video and sanctions against those responsible for it having appeared. Its complaints have been lodged with two women's organisations and with, bizarrely, Tráfico. The video, it is alleged, shows women as sex objects and has scenes which denigrate women. Having seen the video once, I was compelled to watch it a second time as I hadn't been aware of anything of the sort. True, there are a few breasts, but then there are also all those male chests as well. If one's being really sensitive, one could argue that it is men being shown as sex objects as well as or more than women.

And how, pray, does Tráfico come into all of this? Well, this is where the complaint gets really odd and presents straws to clutch at. In one scene, two blokes are driving along, all happy, smiling and laughing, and the driver has only one hand on the wheel. Next thing you see is the car taking a tight corner on a mountain road. The implication is that the driver has taken the corner with only one hand on the wheel, though of course you can't be certain that this is the case. Furthermore, the video supposedly makes much of drinking alcohol (as though this were in the least bit unusual), but because of the drinking and the one hand on the wheel, the complaint has been made to Tráfico.

The opposition to the video is laughable. One presumes that the institute isn't a great supporter of "el turismo gay" or of gay full stop. Its opposition is a clutching at straws; the highlighting of a promotional video which is most certainly not offensive. But then what can you expect? This is an institute which first really came to my attention over three years ago when it was calling for a ban on topless sunbathing (by women). It opposed this on the grounds that it exceeded norms of decorum. Digging around to find out more about the institute led to an interview with its national president in the magazine for an organisation called Foro Arbil in which he said that he was in total agreement with the aims of the organisation, one which is not exactly left-wing.

The institute is perfectly entitled to its views, but can it be taken seriously when it complains about an inconsequential video which, were it not for the promotion of gay tourism, would have passed without any comment. 

Index for January 2014

Alcúdia ecotourism - 17 January 2014
Alexandre Ballester - 10 January 2014
Burgos protests - 19 January 2014
Catalonia's tourism - 29 January 2014
Cursach hotel management in Magalluf - 11 January 2014
Demons' traditions - 12 January 2014
Els Valldemossa - 24 January 2014
Extremadura tourism promotion - 20 January 2014
Hotel modernisation: a slow process - 7 January 2014
Ibiza gay tourism - 31 January 2014 - 30 January 2014
Joan Miró, Japan and Portugal - 25 January 2014
Law of symbols - 16 January 2014
Local administration reform - 13 January 2014
Malén Ortiz disappearance - 2 January 2014
Mallorca in 2014 - 1 January 2014
Maritime museum - 27 January 2014
Montuïri tourism - 6 January 2014
Palma World Heritage Site - 22 January 2014
Palomares incident - 15 January 2014
Pollensa School history - 3 January 2014
Porto Cristo's magazine - 28 January 2014
President Bauzá non-appearance at Sant Antoni - 21 January 2014
Public-private tourism collaboration - 23 January 2014
Sant Sebastià tradition - 18 January 2014
Selva tourism - 9 January 2014
Signs in Castilian and Catalan - 8 January 2014
Spain's abortion reform - 4 January 2014
The Beatles and Mallorca - 14 January 2014
Three Kings - 5 January 2014
Works of art and IVA - 26 January

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