"Manta" sellers, so-called because of goods set out on blankets or groundsheets. | Archive


Pimeco, the association which represents smaller retailers, is to meet on Monday with Palma’s public safety councillor, Angélica Pastor, in order to discuss solutions to the increasing problem of illegal street selling. The meeting is to take place because of growing concerns among retailers regarding the growth in illegal trading. This has been observable in Palma’s main tourist areas, while there are specific worries about the impact it may have on legitimate business over the Easter period.

Association president, Bernat Coll, says that since the end of February there has been a noticeable increase in sellers in areas such as Dalt Murada and the Plaça Major. He attributes this activity to "passivity on behalf of the authorities".

"It is the institutions," Coll insists, "who are responsible for doing everything necessary to put an end to the so-called ‘top manta’ scourge. This isn’t just an economic problem or a case of unfair competition, it is also a serious social problem".

Palma’s deputy mayor for the model of the city, Antoni Noguera, has also announced what he describes as the "the most ambitious plans for controlling the licences of activities in the city", ones designed to ensure a balance between these activities and everyday co-existence. There is to be, therefore, an intensive campaign of inspections principally targeted at the Playa de Palma.

This will have four objectives: to detect any modifications made to an operating licence or authorisation; to check on compliance with measures set out by licences; to identify any clandestine activity; to address any complaints made by the public and to resolve conflicts in line with existing regulations.

"We have to put all parts of Palma in order and especially those we call the hottest, i.e. where there are most complaints. This is the case with Playa de Palma. Consequently, from the start of the tourist season there is to be major deployment and intense action in this part of the city."

The campaign was approved at the last meeting of the urban planning board and is now being worked on to determine the most effective deployment of inspectors. It will also be operating in co-ordination with the city’s department for public health and safety.

Meanwhile, residents of Playa de Palma have been active in videoing what is going on there even before the season gets underway. They say that there is a need for police presence all year and are highlighting the fact that in Arenal there has been a large influx of tourists - mainly pensioners on Imserso vacations - who have attracted illegal street sellers and the three-cup game tricksters. These are taking advantage, say residents, of the lack of police.