Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Discover Mojácar (It's Just Around the Next Corner)

Mojácar wants tourists because it wants their money. To get these tourists, it's fashionable (while at the same time apparently considered to be useless) to make promotions here and there. Well, here anyway. While I have not actually counted them, I would say that there are around twenty 'Come to Mojácar' posters artfully posted somewhere around the municipality, as if we might believe in some way that the Tourist Department was doing a wonderful job of promotion elsewhere.
Sometimes the promotions are in Spanish; other times, in what passes for English, but isn't, they aren't.
Not content with the 'Dump on your Plate' school of promotion for those who can read English (known outside of Google translation as 'the poop in your soup group' - which has the advantage of avoiding having to invite foreign native-language speakers to participate in the feeding-frenzy), the sale of our small and increasingly irrelevant resort to the larger world has gone from the Domino Theory of Fame for All the Wrong Reasons (See The Times, The Independent, the BBC, and a number of Spanish national dailies enjoying a joke at Mojácar's plans to control noise down to a squeak), via the 'only souvenir ever brought home is a multa from the traffic police' (this in a tourist town with several hundred bars and restaurants, where drinking a glass of water is hardly an option), to a complete loss of plans or ideas for where this community might go. What are we promoting here? The chance to fill our street with a caravan of cars and buses, just to fill a few cash registers? Is that it?
Added to this, we have the freezing out of all forasteros, particularly foreigners, by the town hall - as if we are suddenly the problem rather than the solution.
A speaker in the plenary session earlier this week discussing the point about controlling the noise in Mojácar said that we live from tourism - both the relaxed and the party-time sorts ('turismo de descanso y turismo de ocio') - which rather obviously don't like to share the same apartment. This is the applied wisdom in our town, a resort with just one two-lane street running in parallel with the Mediterranean. Cheap hotels at either end and a clutch of bars and restaurants in the middle - controlled, generally speaking, by murderously high rents.
In our badly planned town, which enjoys probably the easiest winters in the whole of Europe, most of those hotels, bars and restaurants alike, are closed outside of the summer season.
There are of course three types of tourism - the relaxed restaurant and bed by midnight type, the noisy down to the disco and back for a party type and then the bleeding obvious make a fortune for the town long-term visitors or residents type, which generates most of the income here, known fatuously in Spanish as 'residential tourism' - the type that buys a house, a car, white goods, food and clothing. That pays municipal taxes. That appreciates and respects the town and the surroundings, that wants the best for Mojácar; that has an investment, an interest in the future of our community. That would like to participate, to integrate and... to help improve the reputation of this town. But we will never ever find the Town Hall spending anything on promoting that sort of tourism.
In the immortal words of John F. Kennedy, 'Ich bin ein cateto'. No hold on, it was his other remark I was thinking about: 'Don't ask what Mojácar can do for you, rather, ask what you can do for Mojácar'!

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