Tourists seen sitting at a terrace in Puerto Soller. | Archives


So many serious discussions going on about the future of Mallorca and the direction tourism will take. The recent soundbite rhetoric has offended so many and put rational discussion on the back burner. All you need are unpleasant people to take the argument and make it personally insulting, and you have the kind of debate going on right now. Take people and their motives for travel out of the equation and look at the big picture in Mallorca and every other popular beauty spot. What we say about Soller can be said of St Ives in Cornwall, Southwold in Suffolk and many, many more places.

Hotels, self-catering properties, restaurants and take away dining. These are the choices for many holiday makers. Local people create them all and want the tourists to visit them every year. They have been welcome, in ever increasing numbers for the past 70 years. Many places developed into service industries after conventional businesses left for industrial estates and bigger locations. Town Halls, businesses and many local employees are very happy to have tourism as their work and annual salaries.

So, look at the personal verbal attacks on tourists - ‘go home’, ‘leave our beaches alone’ ‘speak our language’, ‘get drunk and behave badly somewhere else’ etc etc. These well reported, comments are not representative of most people here. There will always be some who use rational discussion as the launch for their own miserable angst.

The true picture in Mallorca, and other places like it, is that summer tourism in the numbers currently travelling is unsustainable. Crowds, using the infrastructure built for half the number, can cause many problems. The main one being heightened tensions between residents trying to get on with their working lives and the visitor.

The solution is in the hands of those who are paid to make big, important decisions. The hoteliers, the airlines, the local and central governments are all called on, and right now are talking. The dialogue also includes other islands and locations the same problems. Decisions made this week in Mallorca, Valencia and Madrid will be the solutions for other parts of Europe too. Should we take the example of Venice and charge an entry fee? Is it that each area has a total number of hotel beds and cancel most of the Airbnb’s? I have no answers, I watch as you do, all those who are wrestling with decisions right now in July 2024.

If the airlines cease to fly to Mallorca the problems change. How often are the complaints heard about lack of winter flights to the island, particularly from Scotland? Regular flights and the cost of the journey has a much bigger part to play in all this discussion than anyone admits. Airlines are a part of the jigsaw which can play with the prices in this way.

Many Sollerweb clients are contacting us right now to ask if it is safe to come on holiday here this year. They have read so much about tourists not being welcome and being abused. They are worried that their precious holiday time, they have saved for, is likely to be an unpleasant experience. Some have cancelled their holiday; others are saying they are never coming back to Mallorca again.

We can say what we like and blame the soundbite headlines, but the word is out there and needs addressing. My advice to anyone asking, is that visitors are welcome and should not be thinking of cancelling their trips. Mallorca is still here doing what it does so well in creating a great place for all holidaymakers.

It is time to reboot to be ready for the next generation of friends who discover Mallorca. The tourism brains of the world are working, and it will be fascinating to see what they come with to settle the situation to the benefit of residents, the infrastructure of the island and the welcome visitors.
We are told that in Spain, as a whole, there are two tourists per inhabitant. In the Baleares the number is fifteen tourists per inhabitant. With those numbers the decision makers have huge, far-reaching decisions, to make in 2024.