“Mallorca is not for sale”: historic demonstration against tourist massification

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tourist massification

More than 15,000 people expressed their dissatisfaction during a demonstration in Mallorca on Saturday about the tourist massification that complicates their lives on the Balearic island. Under the motto ‘Mallorca is not for sale’ they also stood up for the right to decent housing.

The tourist massification, which causes large numbers of tourists to flood some places on the island, is increasingly testing the patience of its inhabitants. They suffer from its consequences. Life is becoming increasingly expensive, traffic jams are increasingly common on important commuting routes and there are hardly any rental or owner-occupied homes available for normal budgets. The latter in particular is a thorn in the side of the residents of Mallorca.

“Mallorca is not for sale”

Thousands of people walked through the streets of Palma shouting ‘Mallorca is not for sale’. The demonstration against mass tourism started at 7.00 pm in Parc de Ses Estacions and ended on Passeig des Born. Saturday’s protest can be called ‘historic’ according to the organisers, the collective Banc del Temps (BdT) from Sencelles. Members of this group recorded a video in Sencelles last month to explain the housing problem in Mallorca.

The general feeling of the demonstrators is that their archipelago is on the verge of collapse. That thousands of families have to leave the islands permanently because they can no longer live there. That the residents feel like second-class citizens. That people in their twenties and thirties can no longer buy a home in Palma to build an independent life.

No house to be found

The newspaper Ultima Hora cites examples of a 35-year-old couple, both with jobs, who want to live with their family in Puigpunyent, but are unable to do so. A resident of Santa Catalina who is driven crazy by the messages in her mailbox with the message ‘we will buy your house’ and seeing illegal rentals in her building. Other residents of Génova, the last Mallorcans in one of the most expensive neighbourhoods with the most foreigners. The cheapest house here costs €700,000. Other families are tired of waiting in long traffic jams with tourists on their way to work every day. Another participant tells Diario de Mallorca: “I have two children, I am alone and soon I will have to leave my house, but the prices are so high that I cannot find another house.”

New tourism model needed to combat tourist massification

The majority of people during the demonstration carried protest posters with phrases such as: ‘it’s not tourism phobia, it’s Mallorcacidi’, ‘we don’t want to migrate, we want Mallorca’, ‘no future without a house’ or ‘Matthias Kühn is our home owed’. The participants of the demonstration urgently want a different tourism model that makes it possible to receive tourists on the island and to allow residents to live their lives in a normal way.

Investors are hunting for the last ‘pearls’ in the interior

Two spokespersons from Banc del Temps de Sencelles talk about the situation in the villages in the interior of their island. There, investors lay their hands on the ‘last pearls for foreign investors’, but it will not be long before there is nothing left there either. The collective proposes that the regional government declare a ‘housing emergency’ on all Balearic islands in response to mass tourism. The island administrators must recognise that the entire area should be characterised as a ‘tense area’. There must be a stop to tourist rentals and guarantees must be offered to landlords and tenants. Help is also needed to renovate homes. “People are having a bad time, we have no confidence that this government will change the tourism model,” said one of the spokespersons.

More tourists to islands again

In January and February alone, 14.3% more tourists came to the Balearic Islands than a year ago in the same period. Earlier this month, the PP island government announced it would reduce the tourist quota. Of the 430,000 legal tourist sites, 18,000 would be removed. The measure was announced following a public debate and a social response to the situation of tourist saturation that occurs every year from the start of the summer season.

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