Majorca wages new war on British tourist ‘invasion’ | World | News

Representatives from across the political, social and economic spectrum, who met for the first Civil Society Tourism Congress on Wednesday, have agreed on one thing: that the Balearic Islands have exceeded the limits of tourism in terms of volume. 

While the Forum for Civil Society is made up of well-known critics of the tourism model in the Balearics, including the environmentalists GOB and the Palma XXI association, it can also count on business – the Pimem federation for small and medium-sized businesses, reported the Majorca Daily Bulletin

The congress, meanwhile, was not confined to representatives of the Forum, with speeches from not just President Marga Prohens, but also Rosario Sánchez, the Majorcan who is Spain’s secretary-of-state for tourism, and Maria Frontera, president of the Majorca Hoteliers Federation.

While those in attendance were in agreement on the exceeding of limits, they differed on the scale and causes of over-tourism and possible solutions. 

Prohens said that the islands have “lost the social profitability of tourism”.

“We can no longer grow in volume. It is essential to listen to the citizens,” she continued, also promising to integrate conclusions from the congress into the social and economic sustainability pact, which is set to be launched. 

Margalida Ramis, spokesperson for GOB argued that tourism had not been poorly managed, as it had in fact been managed with a very clear intention to make the Balearics a laboratory for tourist experiences. She observed that “one of the most reliable indicators of saturation on the islands is the discomfort on the streets“.

“When the sun and the beach have run out, we have invented gastronomic tourism or spiritual tourism in Lluc – tourist diversification strategies.”

Pedro Mas Bergas, the Council of Majorca’s director for tourism governance and sustainability, acknowledged that “right now we no longer feel visited, but invaded“. He pointed out that a contributory factor to saturation comes from friends and family who are invited by residents, something, the Majorca Daily Bulletin argued, is often overlooked. 

Fernando Valladares, a professor at Spain’s National Research Council, insisted that “there is much to be gained from degrowth and two things are clear: that this is inevitable and that it brings prosperity”.

“A society that is exasperated or grumbling will do us no good,” he continued, while also casting doubt on whether the wealth generated by tourism had a proportional impact on its citizens, describing it as an “urban myth” and “false wealth because investors are very delocalised”. 

Valladares, therefore, advocated planning for degrowth, as is done for recessions: “It is possible to prepare compensation measures, but this would need a change to constitutions, which put economic growth before the health of the citizen.”

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