Cruise ships in Palma. | miquel a. cañellas


The Balearic Government has already slapped a ban on tourist rentals in multi-family homes and issued a moratorium on new hotels, now it’s its gunning for the cruise ship industry.

At the Exceltur Forum in Madrid, Mayor Hila explained that Palma is a city of 420,000 inhabitants which receives 9 million tourists and that it was time to limit the number of cruise ships docking in the Balearic Islands.

"We no longer aim to grow in quantity but in quality with tourism that is civil and respectful of the destination," said Mayor Hila during a moderated debate with two other Mayors.

“There no serious problems of coexistence in the capital so tourist rentals are not a problem,” said Madrid Mayor, José Luis Martínez-Almeida, “but proper, balanced and objective regulation is needed to stop it getting out of control.”

Mayor Martínez-almeida also pointed out that Madrid City Council has closed more than 300 illegal tourist rentals in recent months.

In Seville, the number of empty properties has increased by around 7% in the last 5 years to 21% and money has been invested in several properties in the city centre to generate tourist accommodation, explained Seville Mayor, Juan Swords.

“Tourist rentals have not made a significant difference or forced residents and neighbours out of the old town and there has been no tension,” he said “but it should be regulated to avoid the negative effects of over-loading during the season.”

The Madrid Mayor pointed out that “10 to 11 million tourists visit Madrid which has 3.2 million inhabitants and the city needs a good quality, sustainable model that activates the economy.”

Seville has a growth rate of around 5-6% and the number of airport passengers arriving in the city has doubled in 5 years, but the Mayor believes that growth is necessary.

"We cannot see tourism as a danger or a problem,” he said. “We must not take that approach with the sector, we must put certain processes in place to make sure visitors have a good experience.”

Mayor Martínez-Almeida has asked the tourism sector to maintain a dialogue to solve any problems that may arise.

Meanwhile the Seville Mayor has defended the need to agree on how to generate additional revenue through taxes.

“With 6 million overnight stays a year, 6 million euros could be obtained to reinvest in tourism promotion or heritage rehabilitation,” he said, "and we need to be able to design those strategies together so that cities benefit.”