Are the days of a packed Punta Ballena numbered?


Figures from the Palmanova-Magalluf Hoteliers Association show that in 2013 one third of tourists in Magalluf were from the young and student market, a segment inclined to be the "most troublesome". Last year, this was down to 16% and so vastly outnumbered by families, couples and senior citizens.

The change has been the result of efforts by the town hall and the hoteliers. Tour operators are playing their part, with Thomas Cook having decided to this year stop its programme for students. The association's president, Sebastián Darder, says that a change in business attitude has been fundamental in transforming Magalluf into a safe and relaxed resort but one that still retains its entertainment.

The transformation can be traced back to the project led by Meliá to reposition the resort in terms of quality, reputation and security. Prior to this, Magalluf had been a resort for tourists who came to get drunk, while there had been a lack of investment and vision, for which both the private and public sectors had to accept the blame.

Magalluf now has hotel occupancy rates that top 90% in the main season and attracts a clientele that has greater spending power and is therefore "much more profitable for the municipality and the community".

The summer of 2014, which was when the infamous "mamading" video was circulating, was a genuine turning-point. Politicians were shamed into taking action, not least by Meliá, who had very strong things to say about behaviour and institutional inertia.

Among the various initiatives from the town hall has been one to in effect put an end to booze cruise party boats by making it impossible for them to dock in Magalluf. Meanwhile, however, there remain issues, most obviously the mugging prostitutes.

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