Playa de Palma has been the focus of attention for excesses this year. | Alejandro Sepúlveda

Jaume Bauzá has been the Balearic tourism minister since July. He plans introducing a new tourism law, the previous government having passed one of its own in 2022. He insists that the intention is not to pursue a "scorched earth policy". "At the ministry we are analysing the effects of tourism laws over the past 25 years. These will be taken into account when preparing new regulations. And it will be done without haste and with the maximum consensus."

One aspect of legislation that has been referred to regularly since he became minister is the tourism of excesses law, the original decree for which was in early 2020. He maintains that this can be greatly improved.

"Since it was approved, it has not been able to stop those negative and viral images that we all know. It must be modified, perhaps with tougher precautionary measures, attacking the offenders' attitudes more. When I have spoken of its failure, I have been referring above all to the fact that there is a subcommittee for this law that has never met. It is meant to make proposals for action to the government, town halls and the Spanish government delegation in the Balearics. This subcommittee is made up of political parties, employers, residents associations, precisely the people who are on the ground and who are the ones who can contribute the most.

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There is a question as to the title of the law. He has proposed renaming it responsible tourism. "Negative terminology can put the focus on certain areas and on businesses operating in these areas."

In Magalluf, it has been suggested by the councillor for tourism at the Council of Mallorca, Marcial Rodríguez, that the law has generally been well applied. Playa de Palma appears to be the greater problem. Residents and hoteliers say that anti-social behaviour and crime are rampant. "We have problems such as the lack of police, difficulties in keeping reinforcements coming from the mainland due to the cost of living. It is a wide-ranging problem but we are committed to an eradication of these elements."

As to tourist saturation, he insists that it occurs in certain places and at certain times of the season - July, August and the second fortnight of June. "But I would avoid saying that the Balearics equate to tourist overcrowding."

Hoteliers blame holiday rentals and illegal offers for overcrowding. In his view it's not so simple. "We have experienced an increase of 115,000 tourist accommodation places over the last eight years, which represent 25% of the total. Infrastructure - water, roads, transport, etc. - have not improved to the same extent that tourism has grown. Another issue is the illegal offer. We do not know how many places we are talking about. And if we look at the resident population, it has also grown. Tourism should take the blame for all the problems we have."


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