Cruise passengers in Palma, but is "saturation" being rather overstated?

02-08-2016Miquel A. Cañellas

A survey by the Balearic Institute of Social Studies on behalf of Ultima Hora has conducted a survey into so-called tourist saturation in Majorca. Its general conclusion is that the public accepts that the benefits outweigh the disadvantages of this current saturation.

The survey's director, Gonzalo Adán, says that 82% of respondents feel that there is an increase in tourist numbers and that this perception is felt more by people over the age of 60.

The survey conducted 680 interviews, 400 of them in Palma. Adán notes that the saturation sensation is felt more acutely in Palma, with 84% believing that tourist numbers are greater and this perception being shared across all social groups.

Of the 64% who believe that "massification" has more advantages and disadvantages, this is more strongly believed by men and younger people. In all cases, it is thought that the saturation is temporary and that it offers opportunities, especially economic ones. Tourism is bringing in more money, therefore, but respondents also believe there need to be some limits in order to achieve greater sustainability.

When asked what sort of limits there should be, 66% said there should limits on accessing Palma, where there is a latent concern about overcrowding especially on cloudy days. Regarding all-inclusives, 64% believe there should be limits to these so that tourist spending is better distributed among the non-hotel complementary offer. Despite this 64% opinion, the control of all-inclusive (and also  of regulation of holiday rentals) is close to the bottom of the list of measures the public believe that the government should adopt in making tourism "more sustainable".

Of these measures, a limit on the number of tourists is ranked the third most important (10%), though Adán adds that attitudes towards limits on tourists coming to the islands is split evenly 50:50 in favour and against. More policing is considered to be the most important followed a raising of the "quality" of tourist.

Other issues asked about in the survey cover the number of hire cars, nightlife, access to the Tramuntana mountains and nature parks, beaches, cruise ships and nautical tourism. Less than a half of respondents (48%) believe there should be limits placed on the rental of private accommodation - an issue that is widely attributed with contributing to the apparent saturation. In fact, holiday rentals are ranked well down the list of the main issues related to so-called saturation. The chief one is the number of traffic jams. Increased uncleanliness and shortage of water are ranked in second and third spots.

Adán concludes that there is a wish for a balance and for sustainability. There is no fear of saturation so long as it means an increase in wealth while at the same time maintaining identity and placing sustainability as a priority.

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