Mallorca Footie Blog

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Having got some great feedback when I’ve concentrated on Mallorca and tourism I’ve decided that I would do a midweek blog covering all the football here on the island and keep my weekend blog to talk about the island and more particularly tourism.
La Liga has announced their return on Thursday June 11th with the Seville derby between Sevilla and Real Betis. Real Mallorca will restart their league campaign with the small matter of defending Champions Barcelona at the Son Moix on Saturday June 13th at 10pm. Like all games across Europe they will begin behind closed doors. Denying us here on the island the chance to see Messi, Suarez and Griezmann live. The boys and i went to the away game in December where Mallorca got gubbed 5-2. It was a Messi masterclass, he scored a hat-trick and made everything look so easy. It was a pleasure to be there even though we were on the end of a good hiding. I suppose if there was ever a good time to play them then it would be after a 3 month gap of lockdown. We might just catch them off guard a little like we did against Real Madrid at home and a point would be like a win to be honest.
I wonder if there will be anyone who will try to get near the ground as there are areas of the car park you can actually see part of the pitch. I’m sure the police won’t allow it but let’s see.
We play at 10pm Saturday evening and less than 72 hours later we’re in Villareal for a 7.30pm kick-off. Organisers have only released scheduling details for the first two rounds of fixtures, although La Liga chief Javier Tebas confirmed there will be matches behind closed doors every day of the week until the season is completed on the 19th of July. The heat is going to be a problem for all teams, Weekday matches will kick off at 19.30 and 22.00, while weekend games will begin at 17.00, 19.30 and 22.00, with an extra slot at 13.00 if it is not too hot! I think that’s a given.
I read this week that there is a plan to bring back crowds to La Liga, not in the 11 games left of this season but at the beginning of next season. The plan I hear is 30% capacity at the beginning of next season (starting 12th Sept), 50% in November and 100% in January. How are they going to choose who gets to go and who doesn’t? My idea is give first refusal to the season ticket holders who have been with the club from the barren years in Segunda B 3 years ago. Not the glory hunters who started this season. 30% is around 6-7,000 and the boys and me would qualify.
Mallorca have offered season ticket holders a 25% refund for the 2019/20 campaign or you can opt for alternative including a 15% discount on merchandise at official club stores, name engravement on the ‘Fan Wall’, future matchday experiences such as VIP access and ‘Meet & Greet’ events or facility rentals for birthdays or matches.
With no fans allowed at grounds it’s Interesting that the President of Las Palmas in Gran Canaria, Miguel Ángel Ramirez believes that their Segunda division game against Girona on June 13thcould be the first game in Europe attended by fans since the pandemic began. He believes that because of the low infection rate on the island could make it safe for fans to watch the game. There’s been 2,326 cases across the Canary Islands and 151 deaths. If that happens then surely there’d be an argument here as across the Balearic Islands there’s been 2,191 cases and 226 deaths.
If it can’t happen in La Liga then it would be something that Atlético Baleares might look into. Having been made Champions of Segunda B Group 1, Baleares are waiting to see who they will play in the play-offs. They boast 3 players from the UK, the Shashoua brothers have just returned to Mallorca from their quarantine in the Uk. Armando is on loan from Tottenham and Sam is on loan from Tenerife. Hopefully Jordan Holsgrove the Scottish U-21 International on loan from Reading will be back from injury. Whoever they get it’s a huge game for the club and it would be great for the island if they could get promotion. They’ve been in this position 3 times previously in 2012, 2017 and last season agonisingly losing to Mirandes on away goals.
I told you that last week my two were going back to CD San Francisco in Palma and we have already begun their pre-season training together. I’ll keep you posted on their progress and all local football here too.
Take care everyone, I’m back at the Weekend.
Richie presents the Radio One Mallorca Breakfast show Monday to Friday07.30-11.00am on 93.8fm in Mallorca and 102fm in Calvià, online at www.radioonemallorca.com on mobile through their free App for IPhone & Android, The Tunein Radio App, iTunes, the Spanish TDT TV service and all smart speakers. If you can’t hear him on the radio then you’ll find him working at Pirates Adventure the islands number one night out and every now and again he may make an understudy appearance!
Follow him on Twitter @DadTaxi1 & Instagram @dad.taxi or feel free to email him at rprior@globobalear.com

La Liga is back!

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Pedro Sanchez announced last weekend that tourists would be allowed back into Spain from the 1st of July. It’s a huge turnaround from where we’ve been over the last few weeks and great news for the island. However more needs to be done to encourage the bars, cafes, restaurants, hotels and excursions to open here on the island. You may have noticed that we may be in phase 2 but the main tourist resorts are dead. Number one of course there’s no tourists but at the moment there’s no incentive for businesses to open. One of the main factors is social security. Right now if you are a company that employs 100 people who are all currently on Erte(furlough) and you want to start cleaning your premises with say with 1 person. The Government are currently saying you have to pay the social security not just for the 1 that you’ve employed but you have to pay 25% in May and 45% in June for the other 99 too! That’s a crazy situation to penalise companies employing people. You are not only removing them so the Government doesn’t have to pay them but you will be paying back into the system too. Companies have suffered enough already so don’t make it even more difficult for them.
This week I wanted to pick up on something else the Prime Minister announced last week. As long as everything goes well in the coming days and weeks then we will see the return of La Liga on June 8th, with the first match expected to be the derby between Sevilla and Real Betis on Thursday June 11th. All matches will be played behind closed doors, there are 11 games to play this season, with leaders Barcelona two points ahead of Real Madrid at the top of the division.
More importantly at the bottom of the league it’s a chance for Real Mallorca to get themselves out of the relegation places. They currently lie third bottom on 25 points with Leganés and Espanyol below them on 23 and 20 points respectively. Above them are Celta Vigo on 26, Eibar on 27 and Real Valladolid on 29 points. I’d say these are the six teams scrambling to avoid relegation.
Mallorca’s remaining games are;
Home: Barcelona, Leganés, Celta Vigo, Levante and Granada.
Away: Villareal, Real Madrid, Atlético Bilbao, Atlético Madrid, Sevilla and Osasuna.
Like last season their home form is much better than their away form but just before we went into lockdown they got their first away win of the season 1-2 at Eibar which also pulled them into the relegation battle. I think they can win 4 out of 5 of their home games except of course Barcelona. Away though is very hard to call looking at the fixtures but if you take last season as a guide they are going to have to get at least 1 away win bearing in mind they do win the 4 at home. That would put them on the 40 point mark. Last season Celta Vigo finished fourth bottom with 41 points to avoid relegation and Girona finished third bottom on 37 points and were relegated. It’s a tough ask especially with no fans at any of the games. Without doubt the players were inspired last season on their way to promotion by the home support but it’s the same for all teams.
Looking at the experience of the German Bundesliga who are two weeks into their return. I would say they need to pipe the crowd atmosphere into the stadium. You need someone with a football knowledge who can see when things are happening in the game and add pre-recorded crowd reaction. It’s a bit like a DJ who knows what to play at certain times in a nightclub but using crowd singing and noise. I’m happy to volunteer! Another idea used in Germany by Borussia Monchengladbach fans was to buy 12,000 cardboard cut outs of themselves and place them in their stadium to make it look busy. A slightly better idea than the South Korean team FC Seoul who were forced to apologise this week after they used sex dolls instead of mannequins to fill seats during a K League match at their empty stadium on Sunday.
Seoul’s match against Gwangju was being played without spectators due to ongoing measures to combat the coronavirus pandemic.
Some of the dolls had been dressed in the club’s colours while others were holding placards supporting the team. But eagle-eyed fans watching the match on television immediately took to social media to raise doubts about the inflatable spectators. The club issued a statement on saying the supplier had told them the dolls were not “adult products” but apologised for failing to check. Sounds like an episode from Only Fools and Horses, you couldn’t make it up!
Congratulations to Atlético Baleares who this week were made Champions of Segunda B Group 1. There were still 10 games to go but the League have decided to end things immediately and go straight to the play-offs. Remember that winning your Segunda B group doesn’t give you automatic promotion, you have to play a play-off two legged game against one of the winners of one of the other regional groups. Baleares posible opponents are UD Logroñes, CD Castellón or FC Cartagena. Logroñes seem to be the team to avoid, they were 13 points clear having only lost twice. Win your play-off you go up, lose your play-off and you drop back into the play-offs with the teams that finished second, third and fourth. Interestingly they contain two teams from Ibiza, UD Ibiza and Pena Deportiva. I think Baleares have a great chance and can build on the disappointment of not going up last year. It would be great for the island if Real Mallorca stay up and Atlético Baleares get promoted.
One element of football I’ve missed more than anything is watching the boys play. Last week we got news that both of them have been asked to go back to CD San Francisco. Jacob into Cadete B & Jude into Alevin A. Jake will resume training at the beginning of August and Jude will start at the end of August. Both of them were really happy to receive the call and so were we, we’re counting down the days!
Take care everyone and enjoy your weekend!
Richie presents the Radio One Mallorca Breakfast show Monday to Friday07.30-11.00am on 93.8fm in Mallorca and 102fm in Calvià, online at www.radioonemallorca.com on mobile through their free App for IPhone & Android, The Tunein Radio App, iTunes, the Spanish TDT TV service and all smart speakers. If you can’t hear him on the radio then you’ll find him working at Pirates Adventure the islands number one night out and every now and again he may make an understudy appearance!
Follow him on Twitter @DadTaxi1 & Instagram @dad.taxi or feel free to email him at rprior@globobalear.com

Staycation?

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Last weeks column and blog certainly got you talking. Nobody could see a negative in having tourists here in the winter. Well a couple said they like the winters tourist free but as we’re having a summer free then maybe they’ll relent! I was even asked to get it translated into Catalan and send it to the powers that be. If anyone would like to do that I’d be happy to hear from you. Everyday there seems to be more positive news about the pandemic which will mean more lockdown measures being eased. One thing that I don’t understand here is the introduction of face masks? 70 days into the lockdown and now we’re told that we have to wear them? It’s because we’re all being let out they say. But we’ve all been in supermarkets since this started not being made to wear them and now we do? I don’t get it. Face masks will be the new hand sanitiser and someone, somewhere is making a fortune. The front page of the Spanish newspaper Ultima Hora on Thursday said that families were spending between 72 and 115 euros a month on masks alone. That can’t be right especially when people are struggling to put food on the table.
On the plus side there seems to be some green shoots of a sort of summer season here on the island.
Easyjet plans to resume a limited number of flights from June 15th. Although nothing to Palma as yet.
Ryanair plans to resume up to 50% of its flights from July 1st.
Further routes will be announced over the coming weeks as customer demand increases and lockdown measures across Europe are relaxed.
The two main Tour Operators Tui and Jet2 are currently saying mid June to begin their programmes. Remembering that these companies fly holiday makers to lots of different destinations and they will I imagine open up each country when given the go ahead to do so. That won’t mean to begin with Palma as the Government here are still saying domestic travel before international travel. We have to think that at the moment because of the state of alarm the whole talk is about Spain. But my understanding is as soon as the autonomous regional Governments begin governing again the Balearics and the Canary Islands will start before the mainland. Tui Germany will be the first to start in Mallorca and I would imagine that the UK won’t be far behind. My guess is the first or second week of July.
I think we have to be realistic that the numbers won’t be like a normal July and August but it’s a start. Simon Calder the man most TV companies turn to when there’s a travel problem held a poll on Twitter asking would you be happy to travel abroad this summer and 65% said no.
A similar story in Ireland where a poll in the Irish Mirror found that just over three-quarters of all respondents were willing to forgo the sunshine and stay at home. They asked: “Would you fly off on holidays this summer given Ryanair promises to be back in the air by July 1?” – with both yes and no voting options.
A whopping 76.3% of voters said they would not fly this summer while just under 24% wanted to jet off to sunnier climes.
Mind you I imagine there will be a price war amongst Tour Operators and airlines looking to fill seats which might well persuade a lot more people to book. They only have realistically until the end of August when the children will probably be returning to school in the UK.
The other deciding factor could be the weather as if the summer is a washout then more people might be tempted. Temperatures were warm in the UK this week meaning the coastlines were busy. The papers were coming out with the age old headlines, We’re hotter than the Maldives and Marbella, were two places that got a mention.
The UK government seems to be putting a lot of obstacles in the way too. Apart from Ministers saying it was doubtful that a foreign holiday could happen, they added a two week quarantine which was probably the most damaging. You might think that they are encouraging more people to not go abroad and consider a staycation but this is a fine balancing act because in another way they are harming their own tourist industry too. Tourism before the lockdown contributed £106 billion to the British economy and was 11% of its GDP and supported 2.6 million jobs. That GDP figure is interesting when you consider Spain’s is virtually the same.
Given the choice of two weeks on Southend beach or two weeks here then I know what I would be choosing. No offence to Southend, it’s the one that’s been plastering the news this week with their crowded beaches. In fact I used to go clubbing there most weekends in my youth. Zero 6 and TOTS were my hangouts back in the day. But for me Mallorca would win every time. It is the perfect time right now for us to explore our island. Lots of us I’m sure haven’t been to quite a few places that are often talked about as must sees here. As the lockdown eases there will be ample more opportunities to go out and explore. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to see the island in the summer virtually tourist free, so make the most of it.
Take care everyone and enjoy your weekend!
Richie presents the Radio One Mallorca Breakfast show Monday to Friday07.30-11.00am on 93.8fm in Mallorca and 102fm in Calvià, online at www.radioonemallorca.com on mobile through their free App for IPhone & Android, The Tunein Radio App, iTunes, the Spanish TDT TV service and all smart speakers. If you can’t hear him on the radio then you’ll find him working at Pirates Adventure the islands number one night out and every now and again he may make an understudy appearance!
Follow him on Twitter @DadTaxi1 & Instagram @dad.taxi or feel free to email him at rprior@globobalear.com

Mallorca in Winter, why not?

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Once again a massive thanks for all the feedback on my column and blog from last weekend. The video we shared by Rocky Reborn was seen over 9,000 times and shared 500 times on Facebook. In a week that is amazing numbers and far outstrips the official Mallorca Tourist Board video. This was by no means a competition, I wanted to highlight what I thought was a lazy, boring video that did nothing to promote our island in a good way. By the reaction we got most of you agreed with me.
Let me take you back to January and to Fitur, the annual tourism fair in Madrid. The Balearic President Francina Armengol, and the Tourism Minister, Iago Negueruela we’re pushing out the message for action against Tourismophobia and the challenge of sustainability. They wanted to avoid saturation and the negative effects that it causes on destinations, particularly in Palma, where it generates complaints from social and environmental groups.
In February the tourism of excesses decree was passed, the objectives of this were “to protect the Balearics from certain excesses and to ensure that the islands offer an agreeable experience and that no one is confronted by situations that they would not tolerate in their own country”. The Tourism Minister explained at the time.
Fast forward three months and halfway into May and you can say that their plans have been a success. We don’t have any saturation or drunken tourism as unfortunately we don’t have any tourists. The Coronavirus has completely wiped out everything. So where’s the recovery plan? Well let’s encourage the Spanish to holiday here from the mainland they say, even though some parts of Spain have been badly affected by Covid19. Any bar, restaurant, cafe, shop or excursion will tell you, no thanks they don’t spend any money in resort. Ok don’t worry we’re speaking to the Germans. Maybe a better option as the cases there have been a lot lower than other countries. However, any bar, restaurant, cafe, shop or excursion will tell you again, no thanks they don’t spend any money in resort. What the island needs, as it always has for the thirty years I’ve lived here is the UK market.
The problem is at the moment the UK isn’t really helping itself. After not locking down as heavily as here in Spain they’ve got the highest death rate currently in Europe. One thing we often forget is that the UK is an island obviously with a much larger population than Mallorca but still able to shut its borders. So why bring in after a six week lockdown a two week quarantine? Damage is already done. Not helped also this week by the Health Secretary saying “it was unlikely that Britons would be able to enjoy an international summer holiday because of the coronavirus.” Great, just what the tourist industry wanted to hear.
So as I said last week we may have a summer but it’s going to be very short.
The subject of winter tourism was mentioned to me in feedback last week. To be honest this would be the perfect time to do it. Surely the Government would want as many people off the ERTE(furlough) and PARO(unemployment benefit)and working, with businesses paying into the system? When I arrived here in 1990 there was a thriving winter tourism market but gradually over the years that was left to dwindle away. You’ll get the age old arguement that it’s not warm enough. Well it’s a lot warmer than the UK and if you go across the water to Benidorm, their winters are packed and with the same temperatures as ours.
So what can we offer? We’re an island in the Med only a couple of hours flight from most European cities. We have to change the chip from sun, sea and sand although we do have days that are still suited to that. Also I’m not saying a week or two weeks as some of these ideas can be done in a long weekend.
Hiking: Mallorcas natural beauty and terrain make it a hikers paradise.
Cycling: The majority of professional cycling teams use Mallorca as a training base.
Horse Riding: Natura Cavall offer some amazing riding experiences with the Sunday Times travel section doing a full feature on them this summer.
Football: Real Mallorca currently play in La Liga and Atlético Baleares play in Segunda B.
Shopping: There are a number of shopping centres including Porto Pi, Mallorca Fan and Mallorca Fashion outlet. Palma the capital offers the ardent shopper an unbelievable array of shops including El Corte Inglés, Zara, H&M and lots of designer boutiques.
Sights: Palma has some truly beautiful sight-seeing opportunities including the Cathedral, Bellver Castle and the Es Baluard museum of Modern & Contemporary Art to name just three.
Restaurants: I challenge you to find a better City than Palma for its diversity of restaurants in beautiful surroundings.
Local Fiestas: famed across the island, every month there’s something happening.
Wine: has become a big industry with wine tours and fairs all over the island.
Excursions, winter excursions are all about sightseeing including the Soller train, Caves of Drach and the Palma City sightseeing buses.
Putting the above into a monthly plan.
November, there’s fiestas celebrated all over the island. Just after Halloween Muro hosts the Pumpkin Fair, Caimari has its Olive fair, Mancor de la Vall entertains the Mushroom Fair. There’s also Sa Pobla’s Agricultural Fair of farming exhibitions, arts & crafts markets and a horse show. There’s a new wine fair in Santa Maria del Cami which is a fabulous event to sample some the island’s local wines.
December, Christmas fairs pop up all over the island including Pueblo Espanyol, Port Adriano and Puerto Portals. The capital Palma is a wonderful place to shop but also to dine in some of the best restaurants in Europe.
January, sees the fabulous Three Kings celebrations with the one in Palma being the most spectacular. In the middle of the month there’s the San Sebastián Fiestas the patron saint of the capital with big bonfires and concerts occupying the main squares of the city, followed by the legendary fire runs.
February, sees the landscape transformed by almond blossoms with an almond blossom fair in Son Servera. Palma is a perfect City to celebrate Valentines which falls on a Sunday in 2021, so perfect for a romantic weekend away.
March, Carnival arrives on the island with a huge procession in Palma and other celebrations across the island.
April, Easter falls right at the beginning of the month meaning an early start to the Summer with business being able to begin clawing back the losses of 2020.
Do I think this will happen? No, because they’re too blinkered and can’t see beyond the summer. But we’re in a “new norm” and we can hope.
Take care everyone and enjoy your weekend!
Richie presents the Radio One Mallorca Breakfast show Monday to Friday07.30-11.00am on 93.8fm in Mallorca and 102fm in Calvià, online at www.radioonemallorca.com on mobile through their free App for IPhone & Android, The Tunein Radio App, iTunes, the Spanish TDT TV service and all smart speakers. If you can’t hear him on the radio then you’ll find him working at Pirates Adventure the islands number one night out and every now and again he may make an understudy appearance!
Follow him on Twitter @DadTaxi1 & Instagram @dad.taxi or feel free to email him at rprior@globobalear.com

Is Tourism a Dirty Word?

photo collage from mallorca vacations

Last Saturday it was so refreshing to see people out walking and running again. You could feel the positive vibes as people were allowed out to enjoy this beautiful island. This weekend it will be 8 weeks since the start of the lockdown here and sometimes the little things in life are the special ones. I’m not saying I’m enjoying it but I’ve sort of got used to this way of living. So I don’t think I was the only one who thought that after being let out at certain times the incoming new phase would allow us to be able to meet in groups of a maximum of ten was a little bit surprising.
I’ve been saying all along that I thought this has been taken too far but after what we’ve had to go through maybe this step was a little too much? But on the other hand we have to try and get back to something of normality as soon as possible and this is perhaps the only way. It looks like it will be a slow process but each step so far has been a successful one which is encouraging. Remember that adults with kids have been allowed out now for two weeks and there hasn’t been a spike in the numbers. Current Balearic numbers are 1,935 cases, 1,374 recoveries and 202 deaths. You may well have read that there are 19 municipalities in the Balearics that do not have any active cases and 6 municipalities that have never had any cases of coronavirus.
Interestingly we learned this week that Love Island 2020 has been cancelled.
ITV bosses have pulled the plug on the summer series revealing it was a logistical impossibility to safeguard ‘the wellbeing of everyone involved’ amid the ongoing global coronavirus pandemic.
Kevin Lygo, Director of Television at ITV said: ‘We have tried every which way to make Love Island this summer but logistically it’s just not possible to produce it in a way that safeguards the wellbeing of everyone involved and that for us is the priority.
‘In normal circumstances we would be preparing very soon to travel out to the location in Mallorca to get the villa ready but clearly that’s now out of the question.
In Sant Llorenc des Cardasser where the Villa is situated over on the East coast of the island there have been just 11 cases of Covid19. It’s a shame as it’s great publicity for the island which got us into many peoples living rooms. The biggest audience last year was more than six million for one episode. They go on to say that it will return bigger and better in 2021.
That leaves us in a position to promote ourselves. I noticed this week that my colleagues at the paper shared a video from the Council of Mallorca tourism department. Now to be honest I found it a bit dull, hardly any of the places were recognisable and the music was uninspiring. Firstly there’s the age old arguement of Mallorca or Majorca? We don’t have to get into the whys and wherefores here but if you’re promoting a video to what I believe is to the English market than why have the strap line #SeeYouSoonMallorca. When all the main tour operators like Tui, Jet2 and Easyjet call it Majorca. Before you say well it’s obvious isn’t it? My honest answer to that is no. I lost count the number of people who used to ask me as a Rep at the airport “is this Parma Italy?”
I’ve shared the video amongst friends and the general opinion was the same as mine that it doesn’t show us in the best light. You can go onto the Majorca Daily Bulletin website to see it and note that at the moment it’s been viewed just 1,600 times. Then compare and contrast it to the video I’ve shared on my personal Facebook page and see the difference. Thanks to Rocky Reborn for letting me have the opportunity to show the amazing video he made. It goes to show that with some imagination and passion what can be achieved.
Remember this is the Council of Mallorca Tourist Board so you’d expect that in an era of social media that there’d be thousands if not millions on their pages waiting to see all those videos and images wouldn’t you? Search Mallorca.es and you’ll find the Facebook page has 4,176 likes, the Twitter page has 4,357 followers and on Instagram it’s called mallorcatourism with 1,286 followers. Need I say any more? So with a little bit of research I find that the promo videos are poor and the social media pages haven’t got hardly any followers.
If we’ve been in lockdown for eight weeks then surely there should have been a concerted effort to get all those numbers up. What hope have we got? I said last week that Tourism in the Balearics accounts for 44% of our GDP and indirectly with lots of other industries 85%, surely we can do better than the social media numbers I’ve quoted above? If I were to mention the name Iago Negueruela to you, would you know who he was? I’m ashamed to say I had to look him up. He is our Tourism Minister and certainly someone who needs to get his finger out. I would say he was more important than the President right now. I don’t see at the moment any international tourists arriving before July, if they do in what numbers are they going to arrive and what disposable income will they have to spend in bars, restaurants and excursions? I’ve mentioned it before but places like the Canaries and even Benidorm have winter programmes where here we don’t. Where with a bit of investment and thought we probably could. But unfortunately too many Governments have been guilty of not looking beyond the Summer. So right now you’re expecting tourist businesses to survive the year on a three and a half month season!
I like to leave on a positive and whereas I see this summer being a bit of a washout, 2021 I think will be booming and the Sunshine Isle will once again prove itself to be the jewel of the Mediterranean.
Take care everyone and enjoy your weekend!
Richie presents the Radio One Mallorca Breakfast show Monday to Friday07.30-11.00am on 93.8fm in Mallorca and 102fm in Calvià, online at www.radioonemallorca.com on mobile through their free App for IPhone & Android, The Tunein Radio App, iTunes, the Spanish TDT TV service and all smart speakers. If you can’t hear him on the radio then you’ll find him working at Pirates Adventure the islands number one night out and every now and again he may make an understudy appearance!
Follow him on Twitter @DadTaxi1 & Instagram @dad.taxi or feel free to email him at rprior@globobalear.com

Summer Dreams ripped at the seams….

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Firstly I just wanted to say thanks for all the feedback I got from last weeks column and blog. Obviously it was seen by all the readers of the Daily Bulletin and its been viewed more than 1500 times on my blog in all of these countries. The UK, Spain, Netherlands, USA, Canada, Belgium, Ireland, Sweden, Germany, France, United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong, Australia, Andorra, Turkey and Jersey.
My concluding question last week was has it all been worth it? I did say I don’t do the serious stuff but this weeks subject follows on nicely from that question so I feel I’ve got to continue.
This weekend would normally be the traditional launch of the Summer season here in Mallorca. But here we are still in lockdown and the prospect at the moment of not knowing when or if we are actually going to be able to start.
In order for the tourists to return we firstly need to get our state of alarm lifted. That started this week with a four phase plan set out by the Government and then each autonomous region manages their lockdown but still having to ask the Government about any change. The Balearic Government have already stated that the airports and ports will be one of the last things to reopen. All Spanish airports are anticipating reopening on a phases basis too, with national traffic first, then European and then international.
With that in mind surely with the number of cases and deaths across Spain why would the Government consider national travel first before European and international? Unless there’s going to be testing either at the airports or beforehand with some kind of proof that you are not carrying the virus then I don’t see that as a good way to start.
Passenger numbers through Palma airport were up 2.4% in February 2020 compared to 2019 which was encouraging. By mid March this of course all changed and by the end of March they were down 60%. This decrease has continued and will continue until someone comes up with a plan.
16,453,697 tourists visited the Balearics last year. The three predominant markets which made up 67% overall were Germany with 4,539,921, the UK with 3,745,545 and Spain with 2,772,773. The next closest was Scandinavia with 780,278.
Within those numbers Mallorca received 11,869,977 or 72% of the overall numbers. 4,182,626 were from Germany, 2,425,356 were from the UK and 1,597915 from Spain. Of those top three Germany seem to be in the best position to travel to the island. The sweeping statement by the German government’s tourism commissioner this week who said in an interview that there would be risks travelling to Spain this Summer probably didn’t help. When you consider that overall cases in the Balearics stand at just under 1% of the total across Spain. You have to say there is a very small chance of catching it here.
The whole of tourism across the island is in a current state of paralysis with the majority of staff on ERTE, the Spanish equivalent of furlough. The measures brought in so far do not alleviate any of the problems and at the moment there doesn’t seem to be much hope until the end of June. The hotels have been told they can reopen on May 11th but not their common areas. However they have a far greater problem as in the UK Tui have cancelled all holidays until June 11th, Jet2 say they will restart on June 17th. Both of these seem unlikely for us here as travel between provinces and islands in Spain has been banned until at least June 22nd, so when air and land borders will be reopened for foreign tourists remains to be decided upon.
This Government has been accused of being anti-tourism in the past with measures such as the Tourist Tax, Holiday rentals, reducing cruise ship numbers and alcohol laws. Now it needs a plan to kickstart the whole economy, it’s not going to be easy and the phases brought in so far are cautious.
Tourism in Spain is the third major contributor to national economic life after the industrial and the business/banking sectors, contributing about 10–11% of Spains GDP. Now you compare that to the Balearic Islands and a totally different picture emerges. Tourism has been the “main industry” and still is the main engine of growth in the Balearic Islands economy. A study by the European Union European Regional Development Fund in 2017 said that Tourism activities account for more than 44.2% of regional GDP in the Balearic Islands and generate more than 30.8% of total direct employment on the islands (employing currently more than 130.000 people), that is three out of ten jobs. In addition, it should be noted that tourism has an indirect impact on other types of sectors: services, agriculture, construction, etc. altogether representing more than 85% of the Balearic GDP.
That is a frightening figure and shows firstly what a mess we’re in and secondly if that figure is so high why would you be anti-tourism?
I’ve been in tourism for the whole of my working life. Starting in the Uk at Butlins, followed by Tour Operating here in 1990 and then the excursion side in Pirates since 1994. I’m no expert but this is serious and at the moment we’re on a pedalo without peddles.
Mallorca in my opinion is one of the best holiday destinations in the World. We’re an island with turquoise blue waters, secret coves, soft golden sands, lush green foliage, rugged mountains, picturesque villages, amazing cuisine,  bustling nightlife and a vibrant capital city. We’re also an island in the Med only a couple of hours flight from most European cities. We may be in a problematic situation right now but we’ll be back.
Take care everyone and enjoy your weekend!
Richie presents the Radio One Mallorca Breakfast show Monday to Friday07.30-11.00am on 93.8fm in Mallorca and 102fm in Calvià, online at www.radioonemallorca.com on mobile through their free App for IPhone & Android, The Tunein Radio App, iTunes, the Spanish TDT TV service and all smart speakers. If you can’t hear him on the radio then you’ll find him working at Pirates Adventure the islands number one night out and every now and again he may make an understudy appearance!
Follow him on Twitter @DadTaxi1 & Instagram @dad.taxi or feel free to email him at rprior@globobalear.com

Has it all been worth it?

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I don’t normally like to talk about anything too serious as I like to keep my scribes like my radio show as upbeat as possible. If you are like me, you’re trying to make sense of all the information about coronavirus that is being shared 24 hours a day on television, headline news, and across social media channels around the world. Something though has been worrying me since the beginning of the lockdown so I thought I’d air it today. I’ve commented all along about this being hyped too much by the media. It’s like a pandemic of fear. Piers Morgan for instance you either like him or loathe him but he for one has been banging the drum about how bad this is. When you read the report below you might say he’s right to question the Uk approach but at the expense of what is not being talked about.
Countries are adopting different ways to contain the spread of coronavirus as there is no one-size-fits-all approach. If for instance you compare the UK, Spain, Germany and Sweden then you can see the differences. Some have also changed their policy as time has passed.
Germany, went down the testing route and has been commended for its low death rate.
Sweden, has not imposed quarantine on its population. Instead the government has called on citizens to “take responsibility” and follow the recommendations of the health authorities. It has worked but cases there have started to rise in the last few days.
Spain has been on full lockdown with adults only allowed out to go to the supermarket, chemist or bank. Some listed jobs are considered essential. Certain heavily populated areas like Madrid and Cataluña account for more than 50% of the current 22,500 deaths. The number across the Balearics is much lower standing at 172 today at the time of writing.
The UK has taken criticism for taking a little longer than most to go on lockdown. Some of the population have also been criticised for flouting the “allowed out for a certain time for exercise” rule. Cases are starting to fall right now.
At the moment it’s far too early to say who was right and wrong as this is taking a lot longer than I think most people predicted. I’ve said before every death is regrettable but we are now going to be dealing with something for a lot longer and something even worse I believe than the virus itself, the fallout.
Most of us deal with things in different ways but I’ve listed all the other different illnesses and problems that I’ve read about during the last six weeks.
Mental Health
Cancer referrals
Divorce
Depression
Domestic abuse
Obesity
Drugs
Alcoholism
Gambling
Stress
Economic mess
Business loss
Job loss
House loss
I’m sure there are a lot more but let me highlight just one report from Professor Karol Sikora, an Oncologist for 50 years, CMO of Rutherford Health, Founding Dean and Professor of Medicine at the University of Buckigham and ex-Director of the WHO Cancer Programme.
He says, “When this pandemic emerged, Government ministers were understandably fearful that the NHS could be overwhelmed by the sheer number of infected patients.
But in the weeks since the Prime Minister made his first sombre statement to the nation on the threat posed by coronavirus, this rational concern has morphed into an all-consuming tunnel vision about Covid-19.
The result is that our healthcare system is abandoning its most basic responsibilities. As thousands of Britons are discovering – anyone who is struck down by a serious acute illness or who has developed worrying symptoms of disease – the new reality is a dangerous one.
Some stroke and heart attack patients are routinely waiting more than two hours for an ambulance, while 2,300 cancer diagnoses are being missed each week because patients are not going to see their GP or because they are not being referred for urgent tests and scans at hospital.
Indeed, the cancer diagnostic system has all but seized up.
Another 400 cancers a week are, it is estimated, being missed because breast, cervical and bowel cancer screening has been suspended. For any of these patients, delay can be a death sentence.
In addition, the NHS has cancelled most routine surgeries for three months. That’s tens of thousands of people who must endure further pain and distress as they wait for the operation or procedure that might dramatically improve their quality of life.
All of these individuals are collateral damage in the war against coronavirus.
And yet if you walk around most NHS hospitals today, you’ll find whole wards are empty; operating theatres are eerily silent, while scanning equipment lies unused. As for the 4,000-bed Nightingale hospital in London, it has seen only a handful of patients.
Right now coronavirus is dominating the news cycle, but the next public health disaster facing this country will be the millions whose lives were put at risk because they were neglected during this crisis.
My own specialism is cancer, where the number of patients being referred by GPs for urgent hospital appointments has dropped by 75 per cent since the start of the coronavirus outbreak.
If this continues for six months, I suspect that in the years to come there will be at least 50,000 excess cancer deaths. That is a terrifying number.
Normally about 30,000 people a month are diagnosed with cancer. But this April it’s likely to be fewer than 5,000. And the reason for that is, quite simply, they are not being diagnosed.
Abandoning Britain’s non-coronavirus patients as we are doing is unacceptable and a stain on us all.”
Makes you think doesn’t it and just one disease that will be worse after this has passed. Some other context to this is the predicted Covid19 death rate was going to be approximately 5% of the Worlds population or 1 in 20. Which basically means someone close to you would die. Compare this to say Influenza which is normally 0.1% of the Worlds population or 1 in 1000. Not many of us know someone who has died of influenza. The 5% figure was the basis for us all to panic about this disease. Statistics are currently saying the actual number is less than 1% just like influenza.
Take a look at the numbers below, which are deaths every single day globally.
Tuberculosis kills 3000
Hepatitis kills 2400
Aids kills 2100
Malaria kills 2000
We haven’t stopped the World economy for any of the above and have you ever heard Piers Morgan spouting off about them?
You have to ask the question has it all been worth it?
Take care everyone and enjoy your weekend!
Richie presents the Radio One Mallorca Breakfast show Monday to Friday07.30-11.00am on 93.8fm in Mallorca and 102fm in Calvià, online at www.radioonemallorca.com on mobile through their free App for IPhone & Android, The Tunein Radio App, iTunes, the Spanish TDT TV service and all smart speakers. If you can’t hear him on the radio then you’ll find him working at Pirates Adventure the islands number one night out and every now and again he may make an understudy appearance!
Follow him on Twitter @DadTaxi1 & Instagram @dad.taxi or feel free to email him at rprior@globobalear.com