By Shirley Roberts
There I have said it and I mean it. I know this view has been challenged un 2023 but it does not change my view.
I know that the majority of people working in tourism are professional with visitors. Their personal views are just that and they get on with their work consistently well. Then there are others who would really like to pull up the drawbridge and take Mallorca back to emptier and quieter times gone by. The tales of saturation and breaking all records for people on the island are repeated, and cried over, again and again. There are those who are working on resolution and solution to the problems a mass of people creates. I am not pretending they don’t exist.
Tourists to me represent people discovering this island and being enchanted by it, just like we were. Every generation has their goosebump moments when they emerge from the Soller tunnel into the beauty below. The Soller Valley has its gentrification and new high-end houses, but in my opinion, it can’t stray far from its core. Which is local people loving their lives in this beautiful, sheltered Valley. The pre Soller Tunnel days and inaccessibility of the past meant that the excesses of building hotels and high rise did not happen here.
The evolution of new incoming residents has changed the landscape somewhat. We get used to learning from each new ‘tribe’ who settle. My arrival over twenty years ago was alongside early retirees on reasonable pensions and many others who came here to work in tourism and stayed. I am sure there were some super rich, but I knew few of them. The tribe before me contained many in the Deya and Fornalutx world 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 the super-rich have arrived, and we wonder what to do with them. The social divide is huge as most people who live here are not eating in fine restaurants every night or thinking the same financial thoughts. The internet nomads, the Golden Visas and the like are the latest tribes. If there is a connection because folk are all collecting children from schools or supporting their children’s sports teams, there is a chance to have a life in common. For the rest, where huge money changes everything, the situation is not the same.
The connector of music and local events is used by some to get a feel for the local vibe. The proximity to Palma and a wider choice of events and expensive restaurants means that for some, their social life is all out of the Valley. This is a huge sea change. Soller Valley life to me has always meant the ‘chatter’. We still chatter away but it is noticeable that some of our newer friends are not quite sure what to make of the obsessions with minutiae we have. Their brains appear focused on much bigger things. The little things that matter to many and the local traditions do not appear to be of much interest. Personally, I am saddened by this and hope that they all live here long enough to see the rich world it allows us to inhabit.
In the meantime, back to my friend the Tourists. They have seen us on TV, in films, in magazines, on websites galore and have heard of the Soller Valley by word of mouth and chatter. Some of them decide to come and see what it is like for themselves. They arrive with loads of money and share the core experiences with others are looking for a more budget experience. Some have friends who live here, they can stay with. They will all find their space if they allow the Soller Valley magic to do its work. It’s about the light, the sea, the mountains, the traditions, the people and the constant evolution of tourism.
Every year a new tribe is born who will make this place their holiday world, their sports venue or maybe their home.
I will always be glad to see you