Anti-tourism and rentals' bans
Anti-tourist protests returned to Palma. With slogans such as Stop Airbnb having appeared in the old centre, radical groups Arran and Endavant unfurled banners. One of these, against "massification", greeted staff at the tourism ministry when they arrived for work on Wednesday. We wondered how much popular support there was for such protests, especially ones involving Arran, whose revolutionary tendencies command very little backing. But there obviously is support, if not for the organisations but for the messages. The federation of residents' associations proved the point. It presented a "popular initiative" to the town hall, and at the council session on Thursday it was approved. Holiday rentals in apartments will be banned in Palma.
This ban will receive the government's blessing. In order to rectify the situation with the holiday rentals' legislation, an agreement was reached with Podemos on the principle of "emergency housing". This will mean a ban on holiday rentals in apartments in Palma and almost the whole of Ibiza. The precise text of a government decree to cover this will be worked on this week. The decree, expected to be approved by parliament in September, will restore the possibility of commercialising and therefore licensing apartment rentals everywhere except Palma and Ibiza.
* Campaigners for "The city is for those who live in it, not for those who visit it" yesterday symbolically closed the tourism ministry, protesting against "massification".
Limiting tourist accommodation
Meanwhile, the Council of Majorca, aided by the government, was working on defining limits to the number of tourist accommodation places in Majorca. These are places for all types of accommodation and will include the 40,000 plus places specified in the rentals' legislation. The Council has needed to draw up a plan for intervention in tourist areas in order to determine limits, decide zones for holiday rentals and allocate the additional places. Under the plan, there will be no additional places (for any type of accommodation) in six resort areas, among them Magalluf and Playa de Palma.
Dying of success
Against this background, the Cercle d'Economia de Mallorca, linked to the Chamber of Commerce, made a plea for all interested groups, organisations, political parties and the public to think less about their own particular interests and arrive at an agreement for the "common benefit". It said: "There are objective reasons to believe that Majorca is dying of success due to the massive influx of tourists." Its arguments were in favour of qualitative rather than quantitative growth for a sustainable future that takes account of the environment, the island's security and worker skills and salaries (considered to be too low).
Excursions' sales slump
The Balearic association of travel agents was complaining about a drop in the sale of excursions. Its members have experienced a 50% decline over five years. It identified a lack of product innovation as one reason for the drop. We pointed out that this time last year the same thing was being said, except then the drop in sales was quoted as 40% over four years. Attaching blame to all-inclusives, we observed, was hardly new: the attractions' association has been talking about the harmful effect on its members for several years. The travel agents added that some businesses have experienced an unexpectedly high decrease this year - up to 20%. Was it fanciful to suggest, we asked, that the tourist tax might be having an influence.
Rapping against Punta Ballena
There were more examples of tourist misbehaviour, one of which was the bizarre incident involving an American female tourist who shook a clerk at the Cathedral ticket office because the clerk couldn't speak proper English. The tourist was arrested. Meanwhile, there were other arrests, such as the Germans in Arenal who wrecked a hotel lift. Magalluf didn't escape, and the troubles there, especially along Punta Ballena, were highlighted in a video released by a Calvia rap group, Tabú.
The group, who are planning other protest songs, recently won first prize in the Musicalvia contest, with which Calvia town hall is involved. This didn't stop Tabú from criticising the permissiveness of local authorities, of which Calvia is obviously one.