Saturday, December 16, 2017

The Curse Of The Balearic Tourism Ministry

Between 1983 and 1993, the Balearics had one tourism minister. He was the first tourism minister, Jaume Cladera. Such stability at the ministry is something that can now only be dreamt of.

Biel Barceló's resignation bears an uncanny resemblance that of Carlos Delgado, who was the first of two tourism ministers in the Bauzá government. Delgado resigned for personal reasons, though his tenure wasn't without its moments of controversy. There was the infamous photo of him with a deer's testicles on his head, his trophy from a hunting expedition. The photo predated his time as minister. It wasn't a resigning matter, just a bit of an embarrassment.

What was more of an issue was his appointment of his then girlfriend (now wife) to a position within the ministry. The outcry of over this led to the appointment being withdrawn. He didn't resign over this, but it did make life somewhat awkward for the Bauzá regime. When he did resign, it was just after Christmas in 2013. This is the uncanny aspect. Barceló has gone at more or less the same time into a government's administration: two and a half years, and then out.

Before Delgado there had been the revolving door of the Antich administration, which saw four tourism ministers in all. There were also comings and goings among senior officials. Susanna Sciacovelli left her post as director of Ibatur (which was to become the Balearic Tourism Agency) in May 2010. She was replaced by Mar Guerrero, who herself resigned because of budgetary cutback at the ministry. She had been in the post for only eight months.

Barceló is the biggest scalp that the tourism ministry's curse has claimed during the current administration. To his name are added those of two directors of the Balearic Tourism Agency - Miquel Àngel Roig and Pere Muñoz - and one director-general of tourism, Pilar Carbonell.

The ministry has been like no other. Ministers have gone because of blatant corruption (Miquel Nadal), scandal (Barceló), personal reasons (Delgado) and sheer bad luck - Miquel Ferrer lasted one month before his party, the Unió Mallorquina, was thrown out of the coalition government. It really doesn't reflect very well.

But life will go on post-Barceló, just as it did post-Delgado. And there will, despite the upheaval be continuity, meaning the continuity of the incumbent regime (and party; Més, in the case of the tourism ministry). It has been peculiar to read some of the comments about Barceló's departure. While there has been some rejoicing, some anticipation that things will change is wholly misplaced. Why would things change?

I'm sorry to have to tell those who might hope that there will be some change that there will not be. The holiday rentals legislation policy will not alter, and the tourist tax will remain as is. There will still be talk of saturation, of tourist limits and of better in winter. Nothing will change, which for some might be the true curse of the tourism ministry.

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