Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Nothing Changes: Trouble In Resorts

Oh dear, things aren't going too well, are they. You remember - how are you allowed to forget - all that stuff about tourism heading up-market, about "quality" tourism, about transformations (Magalluf's, if nowhere else), about improvements to image, about eradication of drunken tourism. You do remember, don't you. Do you remember thinking it was all nonsense? If you did, then well done. Have a banana, but don't whatever you do use it for a purpose other than eating.

Shall we put together an inventory of the past few days? Where shall we start? Ah yes, the beaches in Cala Ratjada (and sorry if I offend those who insist that Cala Agulla and Son Moll aren't Cala Ratjada). The dunes being used as a communal toilet. Loud music on the beaches. Drinking, as in alcohol in glass containers (bottles to you and me), which are verboten. German tourists may not know that they are verboten, though normal German common sense (of which there is a great deal in most circumstances) should determine the fact that taking glass onto beaches isn't one of the best ideas in the world.

From Cala Ratjada we move south to Playa de Palma. What did we find there? Among other things, the image of a colossal, pale German youth sort seated at the wall in der Nähe vom Ballermann Sechs (aka Strandlokal, aka Balneario 6), surrounded by all sorts of debris of a drinking nature. My, how the locals lapped that photo up. Elsewhere in Playa de Palma, there was someone defecating in the street (captured on video).

Then we nip over to Palmanova. Normally dwarfed on the antics' front by its rowdy neighbour, it was subjected to the unedifying spectacle of eighteen young British (male) tourists taking a jog in broad daylight across the beach road, while another one was stopping traffic (or attempting to). Just a bit of high jinks? Possibly so, but try telling the locals that, in particular any who might have had kiddies at a nearby playground.

Into Magalluf itself and there were English and Scottish so-called supporters enacting normally nightly battles on the Punta Ballena in broad daylight. It was curious to hear match reports speaking of England fans applauding their Scottish counterparts and everyone having got on famously. In Magalluf, ludicrous enmities were persisting. Bar chairs were substitutes for seats hurled in a stadium. And it was all on video and all over YouTube. Thanks to the video, as was the case with Palmanova, plod were able to identify some of the miscreants.

And plod have definitely taken an interest in the video in the Bierkönig. Yep, we're back in Playa de Palma, where a group of German neo-Nazis caused uproar by shouting "foreigners out" and brandishing the Kaiser's flag. Their fellow countrymen, very much in the majority, responded with "Nazis out". The local police service for hate crimes and intolerance has referred the matter to the prosecution service. The target of these repulsive Nazi foreigners was a "foreigner" with black skin.

So, what do we learn from all of this? We learn that there is nothing new under a burning Mallorcan June sun or within the confines of a beer hall. Nazis? Get them every year. Their targets are always the same. Drunkenness in Cala Ratjada? They've been lamenting that for ages and identifying the same cause - German youth. Streaking naked? Somewhat original perhaps, but largely because it was on video. Fighting in Magalluf? Well, who would have ever have thought?

Calvia town hall, virtuous Calvia town hall, with its transformational bylaws to support transformational Meliaisation, insists that nudists in Palmanova and brawling Scots and English are the fault of some businesses which are not adhering to the model of change. They are continuing with happy hours, with pub crawls, with low-quality all-inclusive. They're just not playing the game.

Maybe Calvia is right. But it seems all too easy to blame problems on certain businesses in-resort and not others. Not everyone travels with tour operators, but a lot do, and tour operators need to start walking the talk of responsibility rather than just filling planes, ferries and rooms with whoever can meet their volume requirements. They really don't care, even if - where British tour operators are concerned - they are starting to care about false compensation claims.

But let's not castigate British and German tour operators. What about some Spanish? Part of Alcudia is about to be laid waste to, courtesy of a Spanish tour operator. Magalluf, Playa de Palma, Cala Ratjada know the same or similar scenario.

The worst aspect of all this is that it neglects something else that hasn't changed and shows no sign of changing. Lads having a bundle, other lads streaking; they divert attention from the mugging prostitutes, the ones about whom virtuous Calvia can seemingly do nothing. Do nothing, and nothing is changing.

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