President and the many who gathered in Palma on Wednesday. | Jaume Morey


At Wednesday's gathering for the social and political pact for the sustainability of the Balearic Islands, President Prohens observed that congestion is compromising tourism competitiveness and stated that the pact was an initiative that aims to unite the entire Balearic society in reformulating the tourism model.

The first meeting was to lay the foundations for a new tourism model for the islands in the face of existing "social unrest" and congestion. "The time has come to make difficult decisions and transform the economic model," said the president, who pointed out that "we are not an exception, just look at Madrid, London, Rome ... .". "Tourists are and always will be welcome, but we mustn't fool ourselves."

There have to be measures to reduce overcrowding, therefore. The tourism model until now has been based mainly on "volume and quantity" and been shown to be "incapable" of growing in "value or quality".

The transformation that the government intends will be designed in a fundamental way to improve the quality of life of the citizens of the Balearics. "Tourism has negative externalities that must be managed and minimised," she said. The president insisted that tourism "cannot continue to grow in volume". Growth will be through greater value, she having made clear in parliament on Tuesday that she never speaks about "decrease" in tourism as such.

Prohens said that the tourism model cannot be rethought every four years when there are elections. "We must sit down, listen to each other and reach consensus on the guidelines for our economic model." One of the first things the government will be doing is to conduct a huge survey of residents to get their opinions.