The Fomento del Turismo, the Majorca Tourist Board, is warning that anti-tourism protests can only accentuate a decline in tourism. The tourist board, which is a private organisation and not governmental, is referring to the hanging of a banner against tourism "massification" by two members of the radical youth group Arran from a Palma sightseeing bus on Monday.
The organisation suggests that there has been a decrease in Balearic tourism this year of up to 12%. Against this background, the president of the tourist board, Eduardo Gamero, said yesterday that there is a "schizophrenia", a contempt for traditional values and a belittlement of an industry which provides work and welfare to families.
"To those young idealists who believe, and are surely ill-informed, that we would be better off without tourism, we have to say that their acts undermine the general well-being of Majorcan people." The type of protest as witnessed on Monday directly and indirectly attacks the island's "most important source of income". They, Arran, are playing with the future, "but they neither know this nor care".
The tourist board is calling on the Balearic administration to show a "sense of responsibility" in not allowing "excesses" and in making clear that enough is enough. Gamero insisted that there should be a "firm and forceful" response on the part of all people of goodwill "who live on this beloved and idyllic island and also by those who hold institutional representation".
Tourism minister Bel Busquets says that she regrets what happened on Monday. "We don't want a return of these sorts of actions," she stressed yesterday, adding that "massified and anti-social tourism is not invited to our islands".
Arran, meanwhile, staged a press event in Palma by the Sant Miquel Church. Five of its members announced that there will be more actions against "tourism massification". Their banner, rather than referring to "tourismphobia" stated "capitalismphobia" and "class war". Spokesperson Jaume Mateu rejected criticisms of their actions made by the government, Palma town hall and the Majorca Tourist Board, saying that there cannot be a criminalisation of a response at "street level" to problems caused by tourism for the "popular classes" and young people in particular.