Will there be a cap on the number of vehicles entering Mallorca in the summer? | Alejandro Sepúlveda

The Council of Mallorca has announced that it is studying the capacity of the island's road network, the president, Llorenç Galmés, having indicated that there may be a limit on the number of vehicles entering Mallorca in the summer.

Hire cars would therefore be at the centre of this possible policy. The two associations which represent car-hire firms have different takes on this and will be lobbying the Council, their positions having divided the associations for several years.

AEVAB is the association for small to medium-sized local firms. It argues in favour of fewer cars than there have been this year. The president, Ramon Reus, says: "It has been seen and demonstrated that there is not a need for so many cars."

In his opinion, a fleet of between 70,000 and 75,000 cars would be more than enough to meet demand. These were the figures for 2022, whereas this year there have been over 100,000. Reus argues that an excess of hire cars is one of the reasons for overcrowding and traffic congestion, especially in Palma and Ibiza.

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He is calling for there to be a "manageable" fleet of hire cars with emphasis given to local firms. He is critical of "unfair practices" adopted by the large companies in the sector which led the Balearic government to report these companies to the National Commission for Markets and Competition (CNMC). "They give a bad name to the entire sector and then we pay for the sinners."

Baleval is the other association. Its membership comprises large companies and multinationals, though there are also some smaller businesses. Its president is Othman Ktiri of OK Mobility. "What we are saying is very simple. You cannot limit the complementary offer if the number of tourists remains the same. You cannot reduce the number of vehicles that serve them because it is impossible to enjoy the island by public transport."

He adds that a reduction in the number of cars currently on offer would result in higher prices. "This is just what some want and what we experienced in 2021 and 2022." Ktiri believes that a reduction that could not meet demand would in fact make saturation even more evident, as tourists would concentrate in the same areas rather than being spread out. "If we want theme park tourism, that would be the way."

He also points out that any limitation would clash with current legislation and refers to the CNMC's challenge to the distribution of the car-hire market in Formentera.