Sunday, March 12, 2017

The Former Tui State Of Mallorca

I don't wish to alarm anyone, but war has been declared against Mallorca. You may not have noticed as this is a war that exists in its own separate Mallorcan universe, the inhabitants of which are tour operators and hoteliers. You will also be less than familiar with some of the names. They include, inter alia, Baumert, Frankenberg and Müller. These are among the commandants of the massed ranks of German tour operators who issued the Declaration of War in Berlin the other day. But you don't need to be too worried. They're not about to invade. Precisely the opposite.

The German occupation of Mallorca, which has existed for some fifty years, is drawing to a close. German tourists will cease to be. At last! Sun lounger liberation. The policy of "Sunbedsraum" is going into reverse. And once the retreat has been completed, Mallorca will be wholly de-saturated, save for the last remaining Brits before Brexit pulls down the shutters on their fifty-plus years of Mallorcan occupation as well. Resorts will become all-year ghost towns. The transformation of Magalluf will be another transformation. Tumbleweed will roll along the boulevard. Weeds will grow on the poolsides. Wild goats will come from the hills and colonise BCM.

Well, not quite all year, as Mallorca will sustain itself by being "Better in Winter" (registered slogan, reproduced courtesy of the Balearic Tourism Agency). The tourism ministry, which must surely be about to be renamed the Barceló Ministry of Sustainability, will have its wish. Pensioners will be warmly greeted at the airport, which will come under Balearic government co-management and see to it that flights will in any event be reduced by some three-quarters. These wintering pensioners, when not drowning in a January flood, will discover how much better Mallorca is in winter by being whisked off to Algaida to be given instruction in all things Ramon Llull. The occasional cyclist may pass them by, all the others having been warned off a Mallorca tainted by Team Sky brown packages.

German tourists, you see, prefer to go on holiday to actual war zones. Or at least to places where terrorism has seemingly become a tourist attraction. This is one of the conclusions of Tui, Thomas Cook, DER, Alltours and the rest. The Berlin Declaration of War makes it clear that Mallorca's hoteliers are to blame. Their prices are so high, so exorbitant that not a single German can afford to come to Mallorca. Ditto all other tourists, except the winter pensioners on subsidised deals.

There was, it must be said, something slightly peculiar about this declaration. This was the fact that before it was made last week in Berlin, the massed ranks of German tour operators had been insisting that Mallorca was all but sold out for this summer. Moreover, such was the motivation to head off to terrorism tourist attractions that sales to Turkey had barely scraped past the 30% mark.

All very weird, but not if you are a German tour operator (or any other one) who has no wish to meet the price demands of avaricious hoteliers. And there we were, thinking that it was the British tour operators who were aghast at the prices (well, they are more or less the same tour operators anyway). But the hoteliers can't really be blamed. They do after all need all the Mallorcan profit they can muster in order to invest it in Aruba and Vietnam.

Somewhat redundant in all this war declaration were the representatives of Balearic administrations, such as Barceló and Hila. In fact, they would have been hiding in the shadows lest they were spied fraternising with the hoteliers. With hoteliers putting prices up sky high, the Ministry of Sustainability is having its work done for it. There'll be no need for tourist limits, as there won't be any tourists anyway. Job done, albeit there'll be a hole in the tourist tax budget.

Moreover, the Minister of Sustainability will have been heartened by environmentalists GOB warning any German tourists who might be dithering in their choice between IS and Illetas that saturation is such that they will be trampled underfoot because of touristic "massification" this summer. Which of course they won't be, as there won't be any tourists, if one follows the logic of the tour operators' declaration, which one shouldn't.

Might this apocalyptic vision come to pass? Nah. Not a bit of it. Berlin was the stage for some propaganda, which has become the purpose for holding travel/tourism fairs (remember the tourist tax propaganda in London in 2015?). It'll all be forgotten by Easter, when the stories will be about rat-arsed Germans in Playa de Palma being chased by local police waving fines for anti-social behaviour. Sunbedsraum will never cease.

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