The 23-S platform, which takes its title from the demonstration in Palma against so-called tourist "massification" on 23 September last year, is to stage a protest next Sunday (8 April). The target of the protest will be the Royal Caribbean Symphony of the Seas, the giant cruise ship making its maiden voyage. It has capacity for 6,680 passengers plus over 2,000 crew.
Environmentalists GOB, who were heavily involved with the 23-S demonstration, are prime movers behind next Sunday's protest. In a video distributed on social media, attention is drawn to the contamination impact of cruise ships. The concentration of harmful particles from ships which keep their engines running while in port is said to be up to "200 times" higher than on a motorway.
The president of GOB, Amadeu Corbera, says that the protest will not be the only action by the 23-S platform. There is to be a "serious" social awareness and debate campaign on tourist "saturation" and on how to alter the situation. Further protest action has as yet to be defined.
According to forecasts from the State Ports, Palma can expect a 5% increase in the number of cruise ship passengers this year: the 1.75 million mark will be passed for the first time. The number of ships is due to rise from 540 to 567.
Palma town hall has taken measures to try and reduce the impact of large numbers of cruise ship tourists arriving in the city, but it and the regional government have no control over the number of ships which enter port at roughly the same time. The fact that six to seven ships can on occasion be in Palma on the same day has contributed to the sensation of "saturation".
Tourism minister Bel Busquets says that the arrival of thousands of passengers on one ship let alone several "is not the model" the government wants. But as with the scheduling of flights, the arrival of ships in Palma is a responsibility of the state. The government and the town hall have requested that ship arrivals are more staggered.
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