Tourism in Mallorca: “I love the tourist”

They will all find their place if they let the magic of the Soler Valley do its work.

“I love a tourist”… There, I said it and I mean it. I know this view has been challenged this year, but that doesn’t change my opinion.

I know that most people working in tourism are professionals with visitors. Their personal views are just that, and they do their job consistently well. Then there are others who would really like to lift the drawbridge and return Mallorca to the emptier and quieter times of the past. Tales of saturation and breaking all records for the people of the island are repeated and cried over and over. There are people who work on resolving and solving the problems created by a mass of people. I don’t pretend they don’t exist.

Tourists to me are people who discover this island and are fascinated by it, just like we were. Every generation has its goosebumps as it emerges from the Sóller tunnel into the beauty below. The Sóller Valley has its refinement and new high-end houses, but it can’t stray far from its core in my opinion. Which means local people love their lives in this beautiful, sheltered valley. The days before the Soler Tunnel and the inaccessibility of the past meant that the excesses of hotel and high-rise construction did not happen here.

The the evolution of new arriving residents has changed the landscape somewhat. We tend to learn from each new “tribe” that settles. My arrival over twenty years ago was alongside the early retirees on reasonable pensions and many others who came here to work in tourism and stayed. I’m sure there were some super rich, but I knew few of them. The tribe before me included many people from the world of Deia and Fornalux who were musicians, writers and artists waiting to be famous and struggling financially. Then there were wonderful moments when their lives and bank balances changed.

These days of the super rich have arrived and we wonder what to do with them. The social divide is huge as most people who live here don’t eat at fancy restaurants every night or think the same financial thoughts. Internet nomads, golden visas and the like are the newest tribes. If there’s a connection because people pick up kids from school or support their kids’ sports teams, there’s a chance we have a life together. For the rest, where huge money changes everything, the situation is not the same.

The association of music and local events is used by some to feel the local atmosphere. The proximity to Palma and the wider choice of events and expensive restaurants means that for some their social life is entirely outside the Valley. This is a huge sea change. Living in Soller Valley has always meant ‘chatter’ to me. We still chat, but it’s noticeable that some of our newer friends aren’t quite sure what to make of our obsession with trivia. Their minds seem focused on much bigger things. Small things that matter to many and local traditions do not seem particularly interesting. Personally, I am saddened by this and hope that they all live here long enough to see the rich world that allows us to inhabit.

In the meantime, back to my friend the Tourists. They have seen us on TV, in movies, in magazines, on numerous websites and heard about Soler Valley through word of mouth and chatter. Some of them decide to come and see for themselves what it is like. They arrive with a lot of money and share their basic experiences with others looking for a more budget-friendly experience. Some have friends who live here that they can stay with. They will all find their place if they let the magic of the Soler Valley do its work. It is about the light, the sea, the mountains, the traditions, the people and the continuous development of tourism.

Every year a a new tribe is born who will make this place their holiday world, their sports venue or perhaps their home.

I will always be glad to see you.

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