Menorcans are on the move to p`rotest the island from mass tourism. | Majorca Daily Bulletin reporter


The overcrowding and mass tourism debate is starting to get hasty and out of control. Complaints against overcrowding have now crossed to Menorca and the Sant Joan festivities in Ciutadella were hijacked by a minority of anti-tourism protesters. The festivities have become hugely popular and attracts scores of people from Mallorca, the mainland and even overseas.

However, the majority come from Mallorca and Catalonia and people were wearing T-shirts during the celebration of the ‘Caragol des Born’, with the slogans ‘Catalanes go home’ or ‘Mallorquins go home’. And the movement ‘Salvem Sant Joan’ (Save Sant Joan) hung a huge banner stating “Sant Joan is not a business, it is a feeling. Enough of overcrowding”.

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One of Menorca’s most popular villages has already taken action to combat overcrowding. Binibeca Vell, one of the busiest places in the south of Menorca, has restricted public access for much of the day from Wednesday May 1 in order to prevent overcrowding. The owners of the 195 houses in Menorca’s ‘Mykonos’ have decided to keep access to the village open only between 11:00 am and 8:00 pm, in order to protect the village from the effects of the overcrowding that they say is caused by the more than 800,000 tourists who visit it every year, according to the owners’ association.

The president of this group of owners, Óscar Monge, wants to propose at the general meeting on August 10 the definitive closure of visits to the complex. The 1,000 residents of this former fishing village in Menorca have initiated this measure in order to force the administration and tourist companies to compensate them more for the inconvenience they have endured. The Council of Menorca and Sant Lluís Town Council provide just over 25,000 euros a year to help the owners of these houses to paint, clean and maintain the postcard image, with white walls, similar to the typical landscape of the Greek island of Mykonos.

“We have been a private urbanisation for 52 years, but it is becoming increasingly difficult for us to enjoy a quiet holiday, as we pay dearly for being the most porpular tourist attraction in Menorca,” said the president of the community. “Binibeca is promoted by the administration and tourism companies, but what benefit do we get out of it,” he asked. Monge also stressed that the houses are worth less and less because of the nuisance suffered by the area due to the overcrowding of visitors, a situation he compared to the Greek island of Mykonos.