Iago Negueruela during the interview on Sunday morning. | Europa Press


Balearic minister for the economic model, tourism and employment, Iago Negueruela, stated on Sunday in an interview with Europa Press that "tourism of excesses or drunken tourism" is one of the "main challenges" he faces in improving quality in certain tourist areas in the Balearics.

The minister observed that this summer has been unlike others in respect of images of this "tourism of excesses or drunkenness". It has been "much more controlled". It would be possible to find such images in any tourist destination. Even so, the focus is on preventing tourism of excesses in those areas specified by regional regulations. "They are designed to end this type of tourism and will take full effect next year once Covid has passed."

In January 2020, the Balearic government approved its decree law against tourism of excesses in specific tourist areas. "It's a pretty tough rule," Negueruela admitted.

He welcomed the efforts being made by businesses to transform these areas and emphasised that the public sector will support them and work with them to achieve this and to ensure that "the type of images are not produced again".

As well as regulations such as those contained in the decree, Negueruela indicated that European funds should also allow improvements in 'mature' tourist areas, with a significant advance in certain parts of Mallorca and Ibiza.

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Speaking more broadly, the minister referred to the fact that 85% of air traffic in the islands was recovered in July and August. Palma Son Sant Joan Airport had the most passengers of Spanish airports for much of the summer. "The importance of tourism for our islands has been made clear."

The tourism leadership of the Balearics over the summer was partly due, in his view, to the slow de-escalation of Covid restrictions - slower than in other regions of the country.

Looking ahead to 2022, the intention is "clear" and this is to recover the high figures registered in years prior to the crisis. Nevertheless, there has to be a more sustainable and higher quality tourism. "We have to focus on quality and not so much on volume. We have seen that depending on volume also brings its risks."

On Brexit, Negueruela believed that its possible effect on tourism in the Balearics has been "solved", noting that there is no problem. The UK continues to be one of the major markets, and the relationship between the Balearics and the UK is "fundamental". This has been maintained thanks, in part, to the efforts made in direct communication with the UK.

"They trust our islands, and they have proven this by being one of the markets that has recovered the most." In this regard, he hailed the fact that the islands have practically monopolised British tourists coming to Spain as well as Germans. "More or less one in three of all foreign tourists have come to the Balearic Islands this summer."

* The tourism of excesses decree law applies to specific parts of Magalluf, Playa de Palma and Arenal (Llucmajor) in Mallorca and Sant Antoni in Ibiza.