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Latest Menorca News

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EasyJet Extends Gatwick-Menorca Route to Year-Round Service

 

Overview

EasyJet has announced the extension of its Gatwick-Menorca route to operate year-round starting November 6, 2024. This new service aims to boost connectivity and support Menorca's local community.

 

Key Details

Increased Flights and Capacity

  • Twice-Weekly Flights: Flights will operate on Wednesdays and Sundays.

  • Additional Seats: The extension adds 16,000 seats.

Collaboration and Support

  • Partnership: The extension is part of a collaboration with Menorca’s tourism council.

  • Commitment to Spain: Javier Gándara, EasyJet's general director in Southern Europe, emphasized the airline's dedication to the region.

Quotes

  • Javier Gándara: "This extension reaffirms our commitment to Spain and the local community."

  • Adolfo Vilafranca: "This route is vital for both residents and tourists, aiming for a sustainable year-round season."

Ticket Prices

  • Affordable Fares: One-way fares start at £38.99.

 

Conclusion

The year-round Gatwick-Menorca route by EasyJet enhances travel opportunities between the UK and Menorca, supporting both tourism and local residents.

Pete Clarke - Travel Editor - 03/07/24

Balearic Islands' Tourism Dilemma: Expanding Capacity Amidst Protests and Anti-British Sentiment

 

The Balearic Islands, a jewel of Mediterranean tourism, are at a crossroads. As airlines increase their capacities to meet the booming demand for travel to these sun-soaked destinations, the local population is raising the alarm about the impacts of mass tourism.

DALL·E 2024-06-21 20.40.33 - A close-up scene of a peaceful gathering of local residents o

Amidst this tension, a particular strain of opposition is emerging against British tourists, who have traditionally been a significant portion of the visitor demographic. This article delves into the complexities of this tourism dilemma, highlighting the key players, their strategies, and the multifaceted consequences of the ongoing developments.

The Airline Surge

 

Airlines like Iberia Express have announced plans to increase flight capacity to the Balearic Islands. This move is part of a broader strategy to capitalize on the post-pandemic travel surge and boost tourism revenue. The expansion aims to enhance connectivity to popular destinations like Mallorca, Menorca, and Ibiza, providing more options for tourists and supporting the local economy, which heavily relies on tourism.

"To meet the growing demand and enhance our service, we are increasing our flight capacity to the Balearic Islands. This decision aligns with our commitment to supporting tourism and providing better travel options for our customers," stated an Iberia Express spokesperson​ (Iberia)​​ (Iberia Express)​.

Other airlines are following suit. For instance, TUI has seen a significant increase in bookings for the Balearic Islands, reflecting a strong desire among travellers to visit these Mediterranean paradises​ (KAYAK)​​ (TUI Group)​.

 

However, this surge in capacity and bookings comes with its own set of challenges and criticisms.

Local Opposition and Housing Crisis

The influx of tourists has exacerbated an already critical housing shortage in the Balearic Islands. Local residents, including essential workers like teachers, waiters, and health professionals, are struggling to find affordable housing.

 

The high demand for tourist accommodations has driven up rental prices, making it nearly impossible for many locals to afford living on the islands​ (CV Real Estate)​​ (Express.co.uk)​.

"We are facing a severe housing crisis, with a shortfall of approximately 20,000 homes needed for workers during the summer season," reported a local housing authority. This shortage has led to extreme measures, such as converting private properties into social housing and even considering temporary housing solutions like shipping containers.

The regional government has taken steps to address the issue by seizing 56 private properties to be converted into affordable housing for workers. However, these efforts have sparked controversy and criticism, particularly from property owners and opposition parties, who argue that such measures infringe on property rights and could deter investment.

Anti-Tourism Protests and Anti-British Sentiment

 

Adding fuel to the fire, thousands of residents have taken to the streets to protest against mass tourism. Demonstrations have been held across the islands, with residents demanding more sustainable tourism practices and stricter controls on holiday accommodations. These protests reflect a growing frustration with the negative impacts of over-tourism, including environmental degradation, overcrowding, and rising living costs.

Among the various tourist demographics, British tourists have faced particular scrutiny. Known for their budget-friendly travel habits and, in some cases, unruly behaviour, British tourists have been singled out in local debates about the future of tourism in the Balearic Islands.

 

"We are not interested in attracting budget tourists from the UK. Our goal is to focus on higher-spending visitors who contribute more positively to our economy," stated Lucia Escribano, Director of Tourism for Mallorca​ (euronews)​​ (Travel Tomorrow)​.

This sentiment is echoed by the authorities in Lanzarote, another popular Spanish destination. Lanzarote has declared itself "tourist-saturated" and actively seeks to reduce its reliance on British tourists. The island's strategy includes capping the number of tourist accommodations and targeting visitors from other countries who are perceived to have a higher economic impact.

The Balancing Act

The Balearic Islands are caught in a delicate balancing act. On one hand, tourism is the lifeblood of the local economy, providing jobs and revenue that support many residents. On the other hand, the unchecked growth of tourism is straining local resources and infrastructure, leading to mounting opposition from residents who are bearing the brunt of these impacts.

TUI's decision to halt further expansion in the Balearic Islands after reaching capacity highlights the industry's recognition of these challenges. "We need to strike a balance between supporting tourism and ensuring the sustainability of our destinations. This means making difficult decisions about where and how we expand our operations," a TUI representative explained​ (The Olive Press)​.

Looking Ahead

The future of tourism in the Balearic Islands will depend on the ability of stakeholders to address these complex issues. Sustainable tourism practices, investment in local infrastructure, and effective regulation of holiday accommodations are crucial to ensuring that the islands remain attractive destinations without compromising the quality of life for residents.

As the debate continues, the voices of the local community are becoming increasingly prominent. Their demands for more sustainable and responsible tourism practices are shaping the policies and strategies of both the government and the tourism industry.

"We want less mass tourism and more sustainable tourism that benefits the local community. It's about finding a balance that works for everyone," emphasized Carme Reines, a representative from a local protest group​ (Yahoo)​.

The ongoing dialogue between airlines, local authorities, and residents will be key to navigating this challenging terrain. By listening to the concerns of the community and implementing thoughtful, balanced policies, the Balearic Islands can continue to thrive as a premier tourist destination while protecting the interests and well-being of their residents.

Pete Clarke - Travel Editor - 21/06/24

Meteotsunami Havoc: Waves Crash into Popular Tourist Spots in Menorca!

Meteotsunami Strikes Puerto Alcudia and Ciutadella

by Nigel Clarkson June 20th 2024

 

On June 17, 2024, an unexpected and dramatic meteotsunami hit the coastal towns of Puerto Alcudia in Mallorca and Ciutadella in Menorca. This rare natural phenomenon, caused by rapid changes in atmospheric pressure, resulted in waves over one-meter high crashing into these popular tourist destinations, causing significant disruptions and damages.

What is a Meteotsunami?

A meteotsunami is a tsunami-like wave generated by meteorological conditions, specifically rapid changes in barometric pressure that cause sudden displacement of a body of water.

 

Unlike seismic tsunamis, which are triggered by underwater earthquakes, meteotsunamis are influenced by atmospheric disturbances such as squall lines and pressure jumps​ (Express.co.uk)​.

Impact on Puerto Alcudia and Ciutadella

The meteotsunami's effects were felt most acutely in Puerto Alcudia, Mallorca, and Ciutadella, Menorca. In Puerto Alcudia, the waves flooded beachfront restaurants and roads, causing extensive water damage. The strong currents dislodged boats from their moorings, creating a chaotic scene in the port. "A freak wave was seen smashing into the boardwalk at Puerto de Alcudia, flooding restaurants and covering beachside roads," reported The Independent​ (The Independent)​.

In Ciutadella, Menorca, a wall of water surged into the port city, leading to widespread flooding and disruption. The sudden influx of water overwhelmed local infrastructure, making roads impassable and causing damage to both public and private properties. Local media noted that "a wall of water hit the port city of Ciutadella, causing widespread flooding"​ (The Independent)​​ (Express.co.uk)​.

Response and Current Situation

Emergency services in both towns responded swiftly to the disaster. Their efforts were focused on immediate rescue operations, securing the affected areas, and beginning the cleanup process. Thanks to these prompt actions, there were no reported serious injuries or hospitalizations resulting from the event. The Majorca Daily Bulletin confirmed, "There were no reported serious injuries or hospitalisations as a result of the meteotsunami"​ (Majorca Daily Bulletin)​​.

Cleanup and repair operations have been ongoing, with local authorities and business owners working tirelessly to restore normalcy. Many affected businesses, particularly in the hospitality sector, have reopened and are welcoming tourists again. The swift restoration efforts have been crucial in stabilising the tourism sector, which saw an initial dip in visitor numbers immediately following the meteotsunami. According to a report from the Express, "Tourism activities are resuming as normal"​ (Express.co.uk)​​

Tourism Impact

Tourism, a critical component of the local economy, was initially impacted by the meteotsunami. Concerns about safety and the extent of the damage led to cancellations and a temporary decrease in tourist arrivals. However, as cleanup efforts progressed and more information became available, tourists began to return.

 

The beautiful beaches, historical sites, and vibrant local culture continue to draw visitors, and the areas affected by the meteotsunami are once again bustling with activity. "Tourists are returning, and the regions are recovering well," stated a local tourism board representative​ (Tripadvisor)​.

Looking Ahead

 

This meteotsunami event has highlighted the need for improved forecasting and preparedness for such rare but impactful natural phenomena. Scientists and local authorities are working on enhancing early warning systems to better predict and respond to meteotsunamis in the future. "NOAA scientists have identified atmospheric conditions that are likely to generate a meteotsunami and are working on ways to forecast them," reported the Express​ (Express.co.uk)​.

Menorca Music Festival 2024: A Week of Unforgettable Performances

 

The Menorca Music Festival 2024 is set to be an exciting event, taking place from August 2-9 in the picturesque town of Es Mercadal.

 

This year’s festival not only promises a diverse lineup of talented artists but also emphasizes sustainability and climate change awareness, making it a unique and responsible celebration of music.

Menorca Music Festival 2024

Festival Lineup and Ticket Prices

The festival will feature a variety of performances from well-known artists:

  • Melendi (August 2): Starting at €40

  • God Save The Queen (August 3): Starting at €35

  • Nil Moliner (August 4): Starting at €30

  • Stay Homas + Guillem Gisbert (August 5): Starting at €25

  • La Oreja de Van Gogh (August 6): Starting at €35

  • David Bisbal (August 7): Starting at €50

  • Taburete (August 9): Starting at €30

 

Tickets are available for purchase on the Menorca Music Festival website.

Event Location

 

The festival is hosted in Es Mercadal, a historic and charming town.

Getting to the Festival

 

Travelling to the Menorca Music Festival is convenient with several transportation options:

  • By Air: The nearest airport is Menorca Airport (Mahon), approximately 45 km from Ciutadella. From the airport, you can take a taxi, hire a car, or use shuttle services to reach the festival.

  • By Bus: Public buses connect Mahon and Ciutadella with frequent services. The local bus company, TIB, operates regular routes.

  • By Car: Renting a car is a practical option for exploring the island. Car rental services are available at the airport and in major towns.

  • Taxi Services: Taxis are readily available and can be booked in advance or hailed at taxi stands.

  • Shuttle Services: Special festival shuttles may be organized, providing convenient transportation between various parts of the island and the festival venue. Check the festival website closer to the event for detailed schedules and routes.

For additional details on the event, artist lineups, ticket purchases, and transportation visit the Menorca Music Festival website.

Join us for a week of spectacular music, breathtaking views, and sustainable festivities at the Menorca Music Festival 2024!

Nigel Clarkson May 21st 2024

Balearic Islands Introduce Stringent Street Drinking Ban

A Step Towards Responsible Tourism

The Balearic Islands, a popular tourist destination known for its vibrant nightlife, has taken a bold step to curb alcohol-fueled antisocial behavior. The regional government has updated a law, originally passed in 2020, to enforce stricter regulations on street drinking.

Menorca News

Here are some key points about the new rules affecting the islands:

  1. Banned Offers: 2-for-1, happy hour, and free bar offers are now prohibited.

  2. Advertising Restrictions: Advertising of these cheap boozy deals is also banned in the hotspots.

  3. Shop Hours: Shops selling alcohol must now close between 9:30 p.m. and 8:00 a.m.12.

  4. Party Boats: New licenses for booze cruise-style party boats are not granted, and these boats are restricted from getting closer than one nautical mile to the designated areas. Picking up or disembarking passengers is also banned for party boats.

  5. Alcohol Limits: Alcoholic beverages are limited to six per day in all-inclusive hotels.

  6. Balconing Ban: The dangerous tourist practice of “balconing” (where drunken tourists jump from balconies into swimming pools) has been banned

The Scope of the New Law

 

Magaluf, Playa de Palma, the West End of Sant Antonio in Ibiza, Calvia, and S’Arenal in Llucmajor are the targeted areas where public drinking will attract fines ranging from €500 to €1,500. This law, effective from May 11, 2024, aims to promote a culture of responsible tourism.

Impact on Party Boats and Sustainable Tourism Tax

The decree also includes a ban on party boats within one nautical mile of the specified zones and prohibits them from picking up or disembarking passengers in these areas.

 

Furthermore, a portion of the Sustainable Tourism Tax (ITS) will be allocated to support the municipalities affected by these changes.

Looking Ahead

 

With these measures, the Balearic Islands government hopes to instill a sense of responsible behavior among tourists. Luis Pomar, from the Balearic Islands tourism council, expressed optimism that the need for such laws would diminish in the coming years as the culture of responsible tourism takes root.

Pete Clarke - Travel Editor - 11/05/24

Shark Alert: Menorca’s Idyllic Beaches Face Unexpected Visitor

As the summer sun warms the crystal-clear waters of Menorca, holidaymakers flocking to the Balearic Island’s renowned sandy beaches encountered an unanticipated disruption.

 

Arenal d’en Castell beach, a jewel among Menorca’s coastal retreats, was the scene of a startling discovery when a seven-foot blue shark’s fin was observed slicing through the shallow blue waves.

Sharks - Letsgomenorca

The Spanish coastguard swiftly raised the red flag, signalling imminent danger and urging swimmers to evacuate the water.

 

The sighting, which occurred around 3:30 pm on Monday 6th May 2024, marks the first such incident this year, reviving memories of past encounters that sent shockwaves through the tourist community.

Despite their non-aggressive nature, blue sharks’ inquisitiveness has led to close calls with humans, occasionally with dire consequences.

 

The island’s history with these marine creatures includes a harrowing episode in 2016 near Alicante, where a holidaymaker emerged from the sea bearing the marks of a shark’s bite.

While the ban on swimming at Arenal d’en Castell has reportedly been lifted, the local council remains silent, leaving beachgoers to rely on vigilance and the flag system that guides beach safety in Spain.

 

The Foreign Office reminds Britons of the importance of heeding these warnings, as a red flag unequivocally means the water is off-limits.

As the news spreads, letsgomenorca.com stands at the forefront, providing timely updates and ensuring that visitors stay informed and safe during their island getaway.

Nigel Clarkson - Letsgomenorca - 7th May 2024

Travel Alert: Spain's Dramatic Bid to Transform 90-day rule for British citizens in Spain in the EU!

By Nigel Clarkson Jan 23 2024

The latest developments regarding the 90-day rule for British citizens in Spain indicate ongoing efforts by the Spanish government to provide more flexibility for UK nationals.

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Currently, non-resident British citizens can only stay for up to 90 days within any 180 days across the European Union, including Spain. This rule has particularly impacted second-home owners and frequent visitors from the UK.

Spain has been actively lobbying the EU to exempt British tourists from this rule, acknowledging the significant contribution UK visitors make to its economy.
 

British nationals constitute a substantial portion of Spain's tourists, with nearly 2 million UK citizens visiting Spain in the first quarter of 2022 alone.

 

Spain's tourism sector, which relies heavily on British visitors, has been advocating for changes to these restrictions.

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Moreover, Spain's Tourism Secretary has stated that the decision to extend the stay beyond 90 days is not within the Spanish government's control, as the UK is not an EU member state.

 

Hence, any change must be approved by European authorities. In the meantime, the Spanish government is planning to request an incentive from the European Union to allow UK nationals to expand their stay.

As part of the efforts to accommodate British citizens, Spain is considering various options.

 

For instance, property owners who invest at least €500,000 in Spanish real estate can apply for a Golden Visa, which offers benefits including longer stays, access to education in top international schools, advanced healthcare services, and permission to work in Spain.

This situation is under continuous review, and any changes to the current rule will require consensus among EU member states.

 

For the most up-to-date information on the 90-day rule for British citizens in Spain, British nationals are advised to check the UK Government's travel advice regularly.

Brits to spend more on holidays this summer, Spain remains top destination

Family Menorca

The average Brit holidaymaker is expected to fork out £2,110 on foreign breaks this summer – up 48% from an average of £1,420 last year – with one destination expected to see £11bn in tourism

This is despite the cost-of-living crisis, with two-thirds of travelers saying they will still go abroad this year.

Spain is still the most popular destination for British tourists, with UK residents spending £11 billion there last year. France came in second, with £4.9 billion, followed by Greece, Italy, and Portugal.

 

The United States also remained popular, with British tourists spending £5.1 billion there last year.

James Brockbank, founder of the Family Vacation Guide, said that travelers are making up for trips lost to the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

"The cost-of-living crisis has had an impact, but travel agents have also reported that while consumers have less money, overall they're still prioritizing holidays."

The increase in spending on foreign holidays is likely due to a number of factors, including pent-up demand after two years of travel restrictions, a weaker pound, and rising disposable incomes.

Let's go Menorca website has reported a 25% increase in organic traffic compared to last year which is good news for the island's tourism industry.

 

However, it is also worth noting that the cost of travel has also increased in recent months, due to factors such as rising fuel prices and airfares.

It remains to be seen whether the trend of increased spending on foreign holidays will continue in the coming years. However, for now, it seems that British tourists are still willing to splash the cash on their summer getaways.

Pete Clarke - Travel Editor - 03/07/20

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