Talks underway regarding limits on cruise ships in Palma. | Majorca Daily Bulletin reporter - G. ALOMAR


The Balearic Minister for Tourism, Iago Negueruela, announced today that the Balearic Government is trying to reach an internal agreement “as soon as possible” between institutions and the affected sectors to set limits on the number of cruise ships arriving in Palma from 2022 onwards.

Negueruela stressed that his department is negotiating to fulfill the left-wing coalition government’s pledge which is in line with other major tourist destinations in the Mediterranean and they have the full the support of the tourist industry, in particular the hotel industry.

The government agrees that the restriction on the number of cruise ships arriving in the port of Palma in high season is an essential measure to “safeguard and protect tourism”.

Negueruela made the statement in response to opposition Partido Popular MP Salomé Cabrera, who criticised “the lack of transparency and rigour” of the government for not making public the evidence that justify the need to limit cruise ship tourism.

In Cabrera’s opinion, the different positions of the parties in the government has generated confusion regarding a policy that, he claims, has been rejected by many sectors of the tourist industry.

“Cruise tourism must be looked after”, he said.

But, Negueruela has made it clear time and time again that he is determined to limit the number of cruise ships, in particular the new generation of mega liners, which are in port at the same time - some of theses include the largest cruise ships in the world.

The pandemic stalled discussions about limits to the number of cruise ships and passengers in Palma.
But, talks resumed early this year. Politically, these talks mainly involve PSOE and Més.
The latter, who have historical and present associations with the environmentalist left, hold the ministry of the environment in the government.

At Palma town hall, Neus Truyol, councillor for the model of the city, will be the Més candidate for mayor at the 2023 election.
The two parties disagree over the numbers of ships and passengers per day.
PSOE are proposing three to four ships with a maximum of 10,000 passengers. Més want one or two and no more than 6,000 passengers.

But, neither the government nor the town hall has powers to establish limits. These are for the Balearic Ports Authority (APB) to determine, which ultimately means the Spanish government - the APB is the Balearics administrative division of the State Ports. But the wishes of the regional government and town hall will be a key factor in agreements to be reached with cruise operators.

PSOE and Més do agree on the Spanish government declaring the Bay of Palma and the Balearic Sea as an Emissions Control Zone. Truyol says that this is something the parties share with the platform against mega-cruise ships.

“It would allow us to control air quality in the bay and to adopt measures to prevent problems that pollution causes for the environment and people’s health.”

Truyol says that if agreement can be reached, the aim would be for limits to come into force next summer.

“It is urgent. In addition to being highly polluting, this type of tourism is one that generates less wealth”. Her reference to wealth is directed more towards the mega-cruise ships than others.

With pollution in mind, various environmental measures are under consideration.
For example, if ships do not have the necessary technology to reduce carbon dioxide emissions or to recycle the waste generated during a voyage, they could be banned from the bay.