The great and good of Mallorcan tourism gathered this week to talk about tourism. Talking shop at this talking shop at the Nixe Palace were, among others, senior representatives of Air Berlin, Globalia, Grupotel, Garden Hotels, Soller's Jumeirah, Melía, Palma 365, Barceló, the attractions association, Festival Park, shipping companies, banks, car-hire agencies ... . The whole tourism world and its wife were in Cala Major for Foro Turismo+.
So, what did the great and good have to say for themselves? There was a fair old amount of management-marketing semantic jargon, such as the need for "paradigm shifts" in terms of market segmentation to tackle the problem of seasonality (i.e. no tourists in winter) and in how the so-called complementary offer is perceived and perceives itself. This non-hotel sector now has to think of itself as the "specialised offer". Therefore, let's say, if you are a British bar, you must become specialised. Erm, isn't specialising in serving a British market already specialised? Or am I missing something? Just as, for instance, the aquarium specialises in being an aquarium.
New technologies were high on the agenda. They can enable paradigm shifts apparently. Rather than the gobbledegook, why not simply call a tweet a tweet? Mercifully, someone did. The point was made that a tweet can have more effect than an advertising campaign. Hallelujah, and with all due immodesty, they must have read what I have been saying for an age. Social media are so much part of the game now that the continuing and lamentable inability of the tourism ministry, tourism agency and others to get their social media acts together should be something drawing serious scrutiny of those in high places in these bodies. And talking of which, I am hearing that there are more rumblings within the ministry, where internal politicking under Martínez is pushing people to seek transfers.
The tourism agency - in paradigm shift mode itself - revealed that Mallorca and the Balearics need to make clear what makes the islands different. Such difference, beyond the summer tourism of sun and beach, is essential in promoting the segments of culture, gastronomy, blah, blah. Again, sorry, I've said this myself on many an occasion. These guys can talk to each other and state the bleeding obvious, but when and how are they going to effect this "difference"? The rest of the Med is pitching for the same off-season market with the same off-season products. There has to be a uniqueness and a supporting marketing campaign in order to establish this difference, whatever this might be, and therein lies the rub. There may well not be any difference.
The future, if there is one, for off-season tourism lies with sports. This is how Thomas Cook sees things at any rate. It has had success with its Ironman sponsorship, and this points a way forward. Possibly it does, but neither of the Ironmans in Alcúdia takes place in the off-season. They couldn't do because there wouldn't be the flights available. Or the hotels open. And were they to, it might unfortunately turn out to be the case that the weather decides to play tricks, churning up the sea or blowing a gale and rain into the faces of runners and cyclists. Nevertheless, off-season sports tourism requires, among other things, more golf courses. Again, maybe it does, but more golf courses run up against innumerable obstacles. Think Son Bacó in Campos (now being spoken about for the first time in some years), Son Bosc in Muro or Son Saletes in Sencelles. The fingers of doom belonging to GOB, to environmental reports, to island planning laws, to the impossibilities of political consensus point at each of them and are wagged with a telling "no".
Talking shop is a wonderful thing. One day they might just find that the shop is closed for business for good.
Index for October 2014
Airplane history in Mallorca - 30 October 2014
Airport privatisation - 17 October 2014
Alcúdia Fair - 4 October 2014
Balearics and state budget - 5 October 2014
Caja Madrid black cards - 16 October 2014
Calvia con Futuro - 19 October 2014
Can Picafort - 1 October 2014
Coronation Street in Mallorca - 13 October 2014
Croatia 365 vs. Palma 365 - 7 October 2014
Geographic centre of Mallorca - 14 October 2014
Halloween - 26 October 2014
Henry Waring and Albufera - 21 October 2014
Holiday lets: easing of regulations - 24 October 2014
Inca fairs - 18 October 2014
Insults - 25 October 2014
Mallorca's history in Catalan - 23 October 2014
Masonry - 28 October 2014
Operación Púnica and PP corruption - 29 October 2014
Podemos and future uncertainty - 6 October 2014
Podemos and UKIP - 15 October 2014
Processionary caterpillar spraying - 8 October 2014
Son Castelló industrial estate - 27 October 2014
Torrente 5 and Bert films - 2 October 2014
Tourism forum - 31 October 2014
Tourism organisation pre-regional government - 9 October 2014
Tourism planning and improvisation - 22 October 2014
Tourism promotion transferred to island councils - 20 October 2014
Transhotel - 10 October 2014
Trilingual teaching - 12 October 2014
Velodromes in Mallorca - 11 October 2014
Winter flights - 3 October 2014