Amidst the storm in Catalonia, Mariano Rajoy found time for a visit to Palma.

23-09-2017Pere Bota

Catalonia and Majorca nationalism
Events in Catalonia dominated the news last week and they had their inevitable impact in Majorca. The two sides of the Catalonia debate were clear enough. At a conference of Partido Popular regional leaders in Palma, words against the referendum included those of the general coordinator of the party, Fernando Martínez-Maíllo. Carles Puigdemont, he said, "was lying to the Catalans, he knows there won't be a referendum".

For the soft Majorcan left, President Armengol believed that Mariano Rajoy had "crossed the red line" with the arrests of political leaders. The harder left, meanwhile, was wholly indignant and was present at a meeting to call a major demonstration in support of the referendum for later this week.

Catalonia provided a context for matters of a Majorcan nature, tourism for instance. The suggestion by David Abril of Més that sunloungers and bars should be eliminated from beaches was probably intended as the headline-grabber it proved to be. The real intention was to press claims for the Balearics to wrest control of the beaches from central government. This was, we argued, an example of the Més nationalism agenda, one that became clearer last week. The party set out a vision for independence by 2030.


The PP against anti-tourism
The Partido Popular was also lining itself up against the left in the ongoing debate over the model of tourism. Yesterday's highly publicised demonstration against "massification" was just one element of this in a week when some idiots threw eggs at transfer coaches and could have caused accidents. The PP's national leadership entered the fray, with its general secretary, Maria Dolores de Cospedal, accusing Armengol of "flirting" with anti-tourism attitudes of the hard left.

In Palma, the PP raised a motion calling for this anti-tourism to be condemned. This was turned down, and the PSOE's tourism councillor, Joana Adrover, was not at all convincing in explaining why it had been. The PP's Marga Duran suggested that PSOE had "some problems" with its political partners at the town hall, and she was almost certainly correct.


Tourism policy in the resorts
We wondered just how much this anti-tourism is really a reflection of Palma's circumstances and of elements of the Palma political class. Despite the eggs-throwing incident, there has been little evidence of anti-tourism in the resorts. Alcudia and Pollensa were highlighted in this regard, and where Pollensa in particular was concerned, it is on the wrong end of government tourism policy in another way - the holiday rentals legislation.

While the pro-rentals Foro Vacacional held a conference in Alcudia at which the legislation was described as a "policy of terror", we considered evidence from the Airdna website. This provides data analysis of Airbnb - in a highly positive fashion; it most certainly is not anti-Airbnb. In Pollensa, there was - at least prior to the legislation coming into force - one apparently illegal rental for every eight residents of the municipality, the highest proportion in Spain. Alcudia was fourth.

Pollensa is but one part of Majorca that faces a good deal of uncertainty because of the legislation. Sympathy there is but the Airdna study revealed just how far removed from the concept of the collaborative economy rentals have gone. "Short-term rental earnings are blowing away the returns seen in any other real estate investment category" is one statement on its home page which specifically mentions Majorca.


No car day
Traffic is another part of the whole "massification" saga, with cloudy days in summer provoking jams. Normally these are highlighted in Palma, but Manacor also has its problems. The town hall is urgently seeking some solutions to lengthy tailbacks at roundabouts, and another town hall - Palma - was addressing the issue of traffic by staging another day without cars.

It was all rather curious. Parking was prohibited in the blue zones, but an apparent failure to publicise what was happening, allied to the fact that the underground car parks were open, generated a situation which wasn't quite as unproblematic as the town hall said it was.

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L / Hace over 2 years

If I was you I wouldn't worry about congestion on the roads caused by 'tourists' because the way things are going many many tourists will not be returning to holiday on Majorca. It has become obvious that we tourists are not wanted or welcome, I for one have cancelled my two holiday bookings for 2018 because of the situation. So it won't be long and these demonstrators will have their Island back with all the unemployment and graffiti scrawled on walls and windows to themselves..

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