The volume of tourists expected this summer will stretch the islands' utilities and services. There is some anxiety that they might be overwhelmed because of the unprecedented number who will arrive, partly the consequence of instability in other Mediterranean destinations.
Water and electricity supplies, sewage-plant capabilities, beach overcrowding, road congestion, rubbish collections: these are issues that have been studied for some months by the government, island councils and town halls, as services of the highest quality need to be delivered to both tourists and residents.
Biel Barceló, the tourism minister, is convinced that all the issues will be coped with, their having been raised at the ITB travel fair in Berlin in March. "On electricity, we are relaxed, as we have the connection to the mainland. As for water, the desalination plants will be operating at full capacity in order to ensure supplies. With regard to high numbers of visitors to beaches in protected zones, we will act accordingly, as will be the case with other services."
Another aspect of service is retailing, and especially food and drink. Distribution and shipping companies are at full capacity in having increased stocks for supermarkets on all the islands. The association for the distribution of food, drink and cleaning products recognises that the great unknown will be the effects of residential tourism and holiday rentals. This, the association suggests, will put pressure on stocks, with logistical issues arising in July and August because of the increased numbers of visitors; this, despite there being 1,600 distribution lorries in Majorca and a further 1,000 that come to the island. The Baleària and Trasmediterránea shipping companies have been asked to increase hold capacity and frequencies to the islands.
The massive influx of tourists will lead to very heavy traffic, as was the case last summer, while the beaches will be packed from July to September.