The Balearics topped Spain's tourism rankings in May. | Miquel À. Cañellas


I'm looking at the home page of a Spanish travel and tourism website. There are 27 main headlines. Of these 27, nine refer to airline strikes and/or cancellations. Lufthansa appears twice - 770 more cancellations and then another 2,000 at Frankfurt and Munich. Ryanair crops up three times, once in combination with easyJet. A strike has been called off at BA, but SAS and Transavia have disputes. The ninth highlights the ten European countries most affected by strikes and cancellations. For good measure, one can add a tenth headline - Heathrow limiting the number of passengers.

So, apart from other items devoted to sustainability or tourism recovery or Andalusian cities contemplating tourist taxes (which they can't have because the law doesn't allow them to), the nation's travel and tourism industry is preoccupied by chaos, much of it of its own making. And for Spain, read also Mallorca and indeed most of Europe.

But hold on a moment, what about those recovery stories? Almost lost among the deluge of strikes and cancellations, they offer a very different take on the summer. And Mallorca is fully aware of this, including Més in Mallorca, who are so aghast at the massive numbers of tourists defying industrial action and the incompetence of certain airport authorities and airlines that they've raised a public petition to demand a limit to flights arriving at Son Sant Joan. This limit needs to reduce "the excessive number" of tourists that the island is "suffering".

Notwithstanding the fact that the likes of Lufthansa are doing thelr level best to assist Més in their quest, the holidaymakers keep flooding in. They have been for more than two months, the Frontur report for May's movement of foreign tourists having placed the Balearics at number one spot in the country. This is a position that the Balearics shouldn't really occupy, as Catalonia is the traditional national leader. Yet this is a season that doesn't make a great deal of sense - on the face of it, that is, until you appreciate that the desire to have a holiday this year was totally underestimated by practically the entire industry.

The national government's delegate in the Balearics, one-time Palma mayor Aina Calvo, has sought to make sense of the season by defining it as "atypically positive". The post-pandemic demand has contributed to this positive state of affairs - a "massive influx of tourists" that is giving rise to calls for airport limits. Calvo is of the view that things will "cool down" next year. But how can she know? Is it simply not the case that, regardless of obstacles, Mallorca has reverted to pre-pandemic type?

The Més petition, other than playing to a certain electorate gallery, won't prosper, and nor will any Balearic government talk of striking a co-management agreement with Aena (which has 49% shareholding that isn't the Spanish government) on limiting flights or smoothing arrivals over more months of the year.

Some airlines may have caught a summer 2022 cold, but that's because they know full well when the overwhelming majority want to go on holiday and when they can sell the maximum number of seats. It may appear, because of the strikes and cancellations, that the season isn't making sense, but oddly it is precisely these problems that speak to the perfect sense of the summer 2022 season.