The President of the Balearics Marga Prohens defended tourists today. | MIQUEL A. BORRÀS


The president of the Balearic Government, Marga Prohens, said today (Thursday) that reaching almost 20 million tourists a year “is not sustainable , so we have to talk about limits and containment”, but has specified that “this is not against tourism; it is not about demonising” the main industry in the Balearics. Prohens highlighted that tourism generates 87% of GDP and 40% of employment, with more than 200,000 jobs, during an extraordinary plenary session to discuss the ‘Bureau for the social and political pact for economic, social and environmental sustainability’ but which has led to calls for the dismissal of the Speaker of the Parliament, Gabriel Le Senne.

Prohens defended the round table for economic, social and environmental sustainability as a space for dialogue to tackle “all together” the “unpostponable challenge” of transforming the economic model of the islands, with the shared conviction that “courageous measures and a change of course” are needed because the current rate of growth “is not only unsustainable, but does not translate into well-being for citizens”.

She said that, although it would have been easier for the goverment to “do things alone”, the debate must involve the entire administration and society as a whole, in order to establish measures to guarantee the coexistence of residents and visitors and the sustainability of the natural environment in the short term and “lay the foundations for a change of course for the future”.

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The debate will be organised on three levels, starting with the website ‘The Islands you want #TuTries’, followed by 12 working groups and by sector (such as tourism strategy, transport and natural resources, among others) and a committee of experts who will be responsible for validating and discerning the viability or impact of the proposals made.

Prohens explained that the process will involve six phases: the setting up of the round table, the specific definition of the problem and its roots, identifying the transition or transformation and the ways forward, reaching a consensus on actions, and adopting and applying the measures.

Prohens defended the government’s commitment to innovation as the key to this process, and announced that on Wednesday the European Commission had just declared the Balearics ‘Innovation Valley’, an innovation hub specialising in circularity and economic sustainability to promote investment in innovative projects and inter-regional collaboration.