The Mayor of Deya, Lluís Enric Apesteguia. | Majorca Daily Bulletin reporter


The Mayor of Deya, Lluís Enric Apesteguia, is extremely concerned about the future of one of the most popular and beautiful villages in Spain, never mind Mallorca.

Born and raised in the famous village, Apesteguia fears that Deya has reached breaking point; not only Deya, but the Serra de Tramuntana in general.

Last week he called for a limit to be introduced on traffic passing through the village, but he told the Bulletin on Wednesday that the problem is not new and that he and previous mayors have been calling for action for years.

Ironically, on Wednesday the Guardia Civil announced that it is to start using drones to monitor and control traffic in the Serra de Tramuntana, especial along the MA-10 road which runs through Deya from Valldemossa to Soller, but Apesteguia said that more serious and long-term measures need to be taken.

I am extremely proud to be the mayor and, along with the local residents, we are more than happy that so many people from all over the world want to come and visit our wonderful village. But we are facing some serious problems which need to be taken seriously.

“I’ve brought this up time and time again with the various institutions and administrations but they tend to look the other way. They think that it’s just a problem for four months of the year and they are quite happy to allow Deya and neighbouring villages to continue being the golden goose for Mallorca. But if that goose is killed, then there are not going to be any more golden eggs,” he warned.

“And we all have to be very careful in the message we send out. This is by far not an anti-tourism stance, it’s a call for help from the authorities. Deya has a population of 700 and that balloons to 2,400, due to the number of hotel beds and holiday homes during the summer, and this has been going on for years.

"The main problem is that the institutions are taking the same approach to tourism as they did during the last boom in the ‘90s, but we’re now in 2022 and the problems and the challenges are totally different.

"The Serra de Tramuntana was awarded World Heritage Status by UNESCO in 2011 and with that came a number of requisites which had to be complied with and met.

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"However, over ten years on, little has really happened. The institutions love the slogan and have milked it, but not much has seriously been done to protect and manage the mountain range, the villages, natural resources, the environment, the socioeconomics and address sustainability.
“According to the latest data, on average 7,400 vehicles pass through Deya every day throughout the year, but we’ve had no studies carried out into what the number is during the peak summer months. That is what I and many of my fellow mayors in the Serra want to see.

“As politicians there are only certain measures we can take. What we need is an expert study commissioned. We need to look at the footfall, the level of summer traffic, the pressure on natural resources and the environment and then come up with serious solutions for the long term. We need to be planning ahead, looking some 20 to 30 years into the future, otherwise villages like Deya will become victims of their own success, not failure.

“We’ve now become so dependent on tourism it has to be properly managed and, as a mayor of just 700 inhabitants, I neither have the tools nor the funding. I’m not only responsible for the standing population but the hundreds of thousands of visitors who come from all over the island during the summer.

“The perfect months of year to visit Deya are April and October because it is quieter and that means a better quality of life for the local residents and a better experience for visitors. I want people to come and enjoy Deya and the cove, but not when they’re going to spend 40 minutes or more stuck in traffic, then find there is no parking, no room to move about safely and nowhere to shop or eat.

"As a village we can’t meet the demand any more and measures need to be taken to install a status quo, we need a sensible balance. We can’t just be considered the cash cow for the island’s tourism.

"It is not fair on the local community, visitors , the environment and natural resources. Yet again this year I’ve had to introduce a hosepipe ban on water for non-human consumption and when the cove car park is full, the Local Police close the road. And that is for various reasons. I don’t want people stuck in a traffic jam all the way up and down to the beach plus I have to consider safety issues. If an ambulance or the police have to rush to an incident, how will they get down the narrow road to the beach? We have an electronic system controlling cars in the municipal car park which also gets closed when it gets full, but there is only so much the local council can do. And now we have the large sightseeing coaches coming through and the bikers; it all adds to the human pressure on a precious area.

“I recognise that Deya is considered a wealthy, top-end quality location, but to be honest I don’t care if the visitors are quality big spenders or not. Like I said, I want a balance. We don’t have the problem of booze tourism and antisocial behaviour, we attract tourists who respect the village, its environment and the fact that people live there. The root problem is that far too many are coming at peak periods and for that reason we need to get a team of experts together to properly study the impact all this is having on the Tramuntana, how sustainable the area is and what amount of human pressure it can handle at any give time without causing further damage.

We want Deya to thrive and continue to be one of the great places of natural and cultural beauty of the world for decades to come, but that is going to need a serious and professional approach, no knee-jerk reactions,” the mayor stated.

“We also need to find out what impression visitors are leaving with and going home to tell their friends. Did they enjoy their experience in Deya or was it chaotic and disappointing? I know it’s going to take a huge effort but this region of the island deserves it. We need to be looking at and investigating the whole picture from top to bottom - the institutions and administrations need to get a grip and sooner rather than later,” he added.