Queuing to get on to the Caló des Moro in Santanyi this summer. | Teresa Ayuga


On December 1, the Council of Mallorca's councillor for the presidency, Javier de Juan, is to meet the coordinators of the four sections that comprise the Mallorca Strategy 2030 document, which addresses the challenges of climate change, overpopulation and overexploitation of resources.

These sections are headed environmental, social, governance and economic. In the case of the latter, contributions have been made by representatives of business organisations, including tourism, as well as by economists. A starting point for the economic report is that the current economic model has shortcomings and that "great challenges" for economic development need to be based on the concept of "global competitiveness" in a search for balance.

Central to this is tourism. Antoni Riera* is the coordinator of the economic section. Under the heading of Integrated Sustainable Development Strategy, this strategy is to "define the island in which citizens want to live and to leave a legacy for future generations". Mallorca should be an island for "sustainable economic development that promotes the social cohesion of its inhabitants and that preserves its natural and cultural heritage".

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Fundamentally, Riera advances the case for limiting the growth of tourism infrastructure and facilities in order to maintain Mallorca's tourism leadership while at the same time emphasising the island's environmental and cultural resources.

These infrastructures and facilities are, most obviously, the accommodation for tourists. In the whole of the Balearics, there are some 625,000 tourist beds, of which more than 400,000 are in Mallorca. One of the proposals from the environmental section is that a 'two for one' principle should be adopted as a means of reducing the number of places. This would mean that whenever a hotel wishes to create one new place (bed), it would have to give up two.

In addition, the environmental section argues that tourist accommodation licences for apartments should not be renewed (these licences currently have a five-year term) and that the "tens of thousands of illegal tourist beds" should be closed down. It is understood that the economic and environmental sections are on much the same page with regard to these approaches.

* Antoni Riera is professor of applied economics at the University of the Balearic Islands and the technical director of the public-private Fundación Impulsa for Balearic competitiveness and productivity.