Palma de Mallorca, 24th Feb 05
MALLORCA TOURIST BOARD LAUNCHES CENTENARY YEAR IN 2005
The Mallorca Tourist Board launches its Centenary Year for 2005 making it the first tourist board in Spain and probably one of the oldest in Europe. The history of how it became the Brit’s favourite overseas holiday destination, and the major part it played in the development of tourism in Europe will be celebrated in the UK and on the island throughout 2005.
The island has come a long way since it became famous in the 1960’s when the “package holiday” was created with the launch of the first charter airline service from the UK. Thereafter, followed a period of dramatic growth with, on one occasion, 10 hotels opening on the same day. By 1964 the island had received a million visitors.
Currently, over 7 million visitors pass through Mallorca annually and approximately 2.3 million of those visitors are British. The secret of the enduring appeal of the island lies in the variety it provides within its shores. Mallorca has a rich tourism history and there is always something new to discover. It has hosted many famous people over the past 100 years, so herewith a few celebrity anecdotes:
A Case of Mistaken Identity for the “One Millionth Visitor Award”
In 1964 the Tourist Board decided to award the one millionth visitor to the island, who happened to be British. In conjunction with Palma Airport, they decided to contact the pilot of a British European Airways flight from Manchester to alert the crew and to ensure that a couple from Manchester would be greeted with a band, local dancers and dignitaries.
When the aircraft doors opened, a typical English “lady” descended smiling and waving at the welcoming committee. The chief of the Tourist Board had the embarrassing task of telling her that this was not being laid on for her benefit but for another couple. The “lady” replied; “Forgive my error, I thought all this was because I have written so much about this island. By the way, my name is Agatha Christie”. The Tourist Board chief could have kicked himself for missing such as great promotional opportunity.
Sleep in Winston Churchill’s Special Suite
Literally thousands of famous statesmen have visited Mallorca throughout the century, including Winston Churchill who stayed at the Hotel Formentor in 1935 in room 222 to prepare work for his Nobel Prize. Visitors can still reserve the same room although his bed has been kept for posterity by the family who opened the hotel in 1929, the first luxury hotel in the area.
John Lennon & Yoko Ono Arrested on Mallorca
In 1971 Mallorcan police had the unnerving task of arresting possibly two of the most famous people in the pop world at that time. John Lennon and Yoko Ono were accused of kidnapping Yoko Ono’s daughter, who was a resident on the island at that time. Lennon and Ono were both released without charges after a 7 hour hearing.
Humble Mallorcan Friar Founded San Francisco
Junípero Serra was a devout Franciscan Monk born in the 18th century in the Mallorcan village of Petra. He established 9 Californian missions including some of the most famous American cities of San Francisco and San Diego, and went on to found 12 more including Los Angeles. He was beatified in 1988.
Prince Rainier & Princess Grace of Monaco Spend Honeymoon in Mallorca
All eyes turned to Mallorca in April 1956 when the most famous newlyweds at that time spent their honeymoon on their yacht off Formentor. Not surprisingly, their visit created a real stir among the locals. One local businessman, who owned a biscuit factory, even named his biscuits after Grace Kelly calling them “Quelly”, which is pronounced “Kelly” in Spanish,. after falling for the Hollywood beauty during a chance meeting at a Mallorcan vineyard. These biscuits are still produced today and are the leading selling biscuits on the island.
Today, the island remains a favourite with politicians, film and sports celebrities, musicians and royalty. Every summer the entire Spanish Royal Family spend their holidays on the island and throughout that time host many other members of the European Royal Family.
In addition, many celebrities have purchased property on the island including Michael Douglas, Claudia Schiffer, Michael Schumacher, Annie Lennox and Lord Lloyd-Webber to name a few. Regular visitors from Hollywood include: Tom Hanks, Goldie Hawn, Tom Cruise, Catherine Zeta Jones, Jim Carey and Pierce Brosnan.
Says the current President of the Mallorca Tourist Board, Miguel Vicens; “Tourism, is the economic activity which creates high levels of employment, is by its very nature associated with happiness and well being and contributes, more than anything else to the understanding and goodwill between men. Mallorca, with 100 years of experience can guarantee, more than any other destination, continuous satisfaction for their visitors”.
The Mallorca Tourist Board remains a private, independent entity. When it was founded in 1905 its’ objective was to create awareness of Mallorca as a destination and to study and implement how to promote the island to potential visitors.
MALLORCA TOURIST BOARD FACT BOX
Approx total number of tourists this century 215 million
Approx total number of Brits this century. 67 million
Approx total number of Brits in 2004 2.3 million
Total number of hotel beds in 2005 283,436
Number of beaches 80
Days of sunshine per year 300
Approx number of almond trees 4 million
Number of restaurants 2455
Golf courses 18
Cruise ships in 2004 450
For further information, please contact:
Mallorca Tourist Board, Dominique Carroll / Anna Skidmore,
Tel:(+34) 971 725 396 Fax: (+34) 971 713 540
Further Press Releases:
GOOD NEWS FOR MALLORCA IN 2012 (09th Feb 12)
THREE KINGS - THE FESTIVITIES CONTINUE! (05th Jan 12)
FESTIVE SWEETS CAN BE HEAVENLY (05th Jan 12)