BALEARICS – The Balearic Islands’ Minister for Tourism, Iago Negueruela, is taking up the fight against excesses. Including excessive drinking by tourists on the Spanish archipelago. Ibiza and Mallorca, in particular, are struggling with this problem and as such look to more quality tourism.
Negueruela wants to improve the quality of a number of tourist areas in the Balearic Islands but recognises that it is a ‘difficult problem to tackle’. He believes that this summer has been ‘much more controlled’ than previous years. In an interview with Spanish news site Europa Press, he stated that ‘if we were to shoot images in any other destination, they would probably be complex and complicated too’.
He warned that ‘there is a great desire to prevent excesses in the tourist areas concerned. Heavy efforts are being made to do so. As soon as Corona is behind us, we will fully focus on this next year’.
Legislative decree approved
Early last year, the Balearic Islands government approved Decree-Law 1/2020, dated 17 January, against excessive tourism. ‘It’s a pretty strict decree,’ Negueruela stressed. ‘But it is necessary to revive the quality of tourism in the affected areas.
The minister pointed to contributions from the business community and expressed the support of the public sector to work with businesses to make improvements in the tourist areas. ‘We will ensure that this kind of image does not happen again,’ he said.
Despite the regulations already approved, Negueruela believes that European funds should also enable the islands to carry out reforms in high-risk areas in order to take a significant step forward in certain areas of Palma de Mallorca or Ibiza.
More focus on quality and less on the number of tourists
The Balearic Islands Tourism Minister also reported that air traffic on the islands had recovered in July and August. Furthermore, it was back to 85% of ‘normal’ levels. ‘Palma airport has been the number one airport in Spain for most of the summer. So I think the importance of tourism in our islands is clear,’ he noted.
Although the outlook for 2022 is ‘good’ and the aim is to restore the figures of the years before the crisis, Negueruela did suggest encouraging improvements in the sector, focusing mainly on more sustainable and high-quality tourism. ‘I think we need to focus on quality rather than volume, because we have seen that relying too much on mass tourism also carries risks,’ he acknowledged.
According to Negueruela, the situation created by Brexit and the possible consequences it could have on tourism has been ‘resolved’ stressing that there is no problem, and the UK remains precisely one of the most important markets for the Balearic Islands. The relationship with the UK is ‘fundamental’ for the archipelago and they are working hard to maintain it. It shows that the British have confidence in our islands; because the recovery in demand from the UK has been enormous. He praised the fact that the islands had a virtual monopoly on the arrival of British people in Spain, as well as Germans. Specifically, according to the Minister, ‘almost one in three international tourists came to the Balearic Islands this summer’.