Environmentalists GOB want a cut to the number of Majorca's tourists. | P. Pellicer


Environmental group GOB has again called on tourism minister Biel Barceló to develop a strategic plan to decrease tourism and to establish quotas for the number of tourist arrivals, for the number of hire cars and for the number of boats.

Following a summer when there has been intense "massification", GOB believes that urgent action is needed against "tourist hypertrophy" and the proliferation of holiday rentals and in favour of an economic model based on social environmentalism.

The group says that the Balearic Islands face a situation in which there are saturated infrastructures, irregular anchoring, 90,000 hire cars, crowded beaches, water shortages, the 100% use of desalinated supply, overwhelming numbers of holiday rentals and problems of coexistence (residents and tourists) in historic urban centres (Palma's most obviously).

GOB criticises the government's tourism policy, arguing that it enables the creation of a "tourist bubble". It says that the government is incapable of acting decisively in dealing with the negative effects of mass tourism, while it is unconvinced by attempts to persuade the public that diversification, sustainability and a reduction in seasonality are policy objectives. Applying the adjective "sustainable" to tourism promotion, GOB maintains, doesn't address the social, environmental and economic problems that are caused by a tourism monoculture.

The environmentalists therefore want quotas and active policies which will reduce the number of tourists. Among these, they advocate a tax deterrent to stop the offer of all-inclusive. They also want airport and port management to be under regional control or at least shared.

Furthermore, the group says that inspections should be intensified and that regulation of tourist apartments guarantees, as a priority, the right to housing for the local population. In order to control the sale of property to foreign owners, GOB proposes that this is limited to individuals and companies who have been resident on the islands for a minimum of five years.