Traffic congestion is a familiar story in Palma when there are cloudy days in summer. | Jaume Morey


On cloudy summer days it is calculated that the number of people in Palma is 100,000 higher than the registered population of 420,000. In addition to tourists already in the city, many come in from the rest of the island*. The town hall, which has given this calculation, believes that this number will fall as a consequence of the Balearic holiday rentals legislation.

The town hall doesn't lay on more staff to deal with exceptionally high numbers. It has already taken additional numbers into account when planning services during the summer. For example, waste bins are emptied in the morning and in the evening. There are "mobile" bins in areas which have a heavy concentration of tourists, such as around the Cathedral. For the "Operation Cloud", the police operation to deal with heavy traffic on cloudy days, officers are diverted from other duties. In tourist information offices, there are no more staff for these cloudy days as they are already operating at full staffing levels.

In Palma there are 46,000 registered tourist accommodation places. These have increased, says the town hall, by ten per cent since the passing of the 2012 tourism law. The holiday rentals association Aptur reckons that there are 25,000 holiday rentals places, a large number of them "illegal".

The Balearic Ports Authority estimates that there will be 1,606,174 cruise ship passengers in Palma this year, a fall of 1.5%. During August there are on average 2.5 ships per day. On Saturday there were six ships, though only five were in port at the same time. This situation will be repeated today.

* There will also be, it should be noted, people who commute to Palma for work.