Cala s’Almonia in Santanyi is prone to "massification". | J. Socies


Saturation in Berlin
Majorca was on tour last week, that part of it involved with the tourism industry; most of it, therefore. Politicians and businesspeople were in Berlin for the last of the big three travel/tourism shindigs that are held in the low season.

For Balearic politicians, notably the tourism minister Biel Barceló, it was an occasion to publicly harangue Madrid. The compliments were returned, national tourism minister Álvaro Nadal saying that "tourismphobia" is a phenomenon confined to the Balearics and Catalonia and one being driven by politicians. Barceló was displeased with the suggestion, just as he was by seemingly not getting very far on the vexed subject of holiday rentals.

Saturation appears, where Barceló is concerned, to more or less equate to the laxness of the tenancy act. This has to be tightened up. Reform needs to stipulate minimum tenancies of a month. Nadal brushed off the proposal but later suggested that he would look into it. Meanwhile, he implied that toughening up on tax where the likes of Airbnb are concerned will assist in alleviating tourist "saturation".

Sustainable tourism
German tour operators were sending out mixed messages. Everything was good for Majorca but then it wasn't good. Hotelier prices are too high and are driving holidaymakers away. Barceló and Palma's mayor, José Hila, preferred to talk instead about a lengthening of the season, cultural tourism, the "better in winter" campaign and sustainability. The Balearic contingent was keen to highlight the fact that the Balearics had so fully embraced the UN World Tourism Organization's International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development.

Back in Majorca, preparations were being made to combat "saturation" this summer. Santanyi town hall announced that traffic access to Cala s'Almonia will be closed. "Massification" on beaches will thus be avoided, there won't be traffic jams, and emergency vehicles will be able to get in and out.

Hoteliers in Palma
While the tour operators were threatening hoteliers with taking business elsewhere, German tourists seemed unconcerned with the prices. Hila said that the German market provides 65% of Palma's low-season tourism, and in Playa de Palma the hoteliers were saying that the German market is working especially well in the current low season; the number of hotels open has risen by 50%.

These same hoteliers were to later lay in to the town hall for not having backed up hotels' efforts in transforming the area. They also criticised the new street lighting system on the front line (so poor that that it offers little lighting) and the lack of cleanliness.

Ciudadanos waded into the argument by having a go at tourist anti-social behaviour in the Llucmajor part of Arenal. What will the town hall be doing to combat tourists who have a "peculiar" way of enjoying themselves, the party wished to know.

Taxi drivers delay signing
The taxi drivers were due to have signed a document regarding the tourist resort bus services, but decided not to. Their legal teams needed time to dissect it. They did agree that there won't be any more protest action, until one of their number, Antoni Bauzá, implied that there might be. He was also wanting all taxi drivers to vote on the contents of the government's document. These contents were "ambiguous", he said. There wasn't much ambiguity about the bus services, though. They were no longer direct services for tourist resorts. They will stop in various places along the routes.

Gales and damaged yachts
Last Sunday's headline read "Gale Force Majorca". The island had taken a fair old battering on Saturday morning, and Andratx had copped for the worst of the wind and waves. A 34-metre luxury yacht, Paradise, was written off. To make matters worse for owners of boats that were damaged, thieves decided to help themselves overnight on Saturday.