If you were discerning enough to read this column in last week’s Euro Weekly News you will know that I had climbed nimbly up onto my soapbox to wax lyrical about the less than convivial welcome that tourists can expect in some resorts on the island.
This week I am still enjoying the lofty view from said soapbox as I look across to the Club Nautico area where cruise ships dock when visiting Mallorca… but for how long?
Some 11,000 local residents have signed a petition calling on the Balearic government to limit the number of cruise ships in Palma to one per day. Currently 500 ships a year bring two million passengers to our shores for (albeit) a brief visit and Palma is said to be second only to Barcelona when it comes to European ports that are polluted by cruise liners.
So how does the island of St Maarten in the Carribean cope? With a population of just 40,000 they manage to cope with 1.6 million cruise visitors a year.
Now, I happen to know far more than I ought to about the cruise industry, having worked on the Cruise Channel for a number of years. Cruise companies plan where their ships are going to sail well in advance and itineraries for 2022 are already locked in.
But after then, who knows? It seems that some Mallorcans don’t want people to come here by air or sea and of course they can’t get here by land. So, how are we going to make up the shortfall of the €256 million that the cruise industry generates for the island? Or what jobs will the 5,000 people who currently work in cruise supported industries do?
Not to mention the loss of revenue for taxi drivers, cafes, attractions and shops that benefit from high spending cruise goers who enjoy a stroll along the Paseo Maritimo.
A small group of these people who stand to lose either income or jobs recently demonstrated at Palma docks carrying placards sporting dangerously radical ideas such as ‘A Tourist, A Friend’ and ‘Cruise ships equal jobs.’
I read with incredulity that a Palma councillor proudly said: “Just as we have taken measures to limit tourist apartments and hotels, now it’s the turn of the cruise ships.” Clearly her job is not one dependent on a cruise ship docking nor does she care about those who do.
The thing about taking a chunk out of the hand that feeds you, when you next get peckish that same hand will give you a deserving slap across the chops.