Spanish island resorts want to reduce the number of British tourists. Various measures are being considered: from restrictions on the sale of numbers to a limit on flights. In the Balearic and Canary Islands, budget tourism from the UK is believed to not benefit local economies and residents.
The Balearics go for the record, but they don’t want it in the archipelago
At the end of 2022, the Balearic Islands (Majorca, Menorca, Ibiza, and Formentera) received almost 16.4 million tourists, which is close to the record of 2018 (16.5 million tourists). According to forecasts, in the 2023 season, 17 million tourists will come to the islands, which is not very welcome in the archipelago.
During the tourism exhibition ITB Berlin, the Minister of Tourism of the Spanish archipelago, Iago Negeruela, said that in the 2023 season, “last year’s figures should not be exceeded”, stressing that this is “a maximum that should tend to decrease.”
According to the minister, the Balearic Islands are interested in improving the quality of tourists, not their quantity. The archipelago welcomes “conscientious guests” who come for island authenticity and nature, and not “just to enjoy the sun and the beach.”
First the locals, then the tourists
Iago Negeruel’s announcement drew severe criticism in two of the region’s key markets – Germany, and especially the UK, where Mallorca has been the number-one summer destination for many years. But the authorities of the Balearic Islands, like the locals and the tourist industry, are determined.
While Iago Negeruela is in Berlin for an industry show, regional MPs have already introduced a bill to the island’s parliament to give locals an edge over visiting tourists when visiting beaches. In other words, first, they want to let residents go to the beach, and only then if there are room left, tourists. In addition, it is proposed to limit the number of flights to the archipelago in the summer.
The authorities of the islands are discussing ways to deal with tourists
The Mallorca Tourist Board believes that the main effort to reduce the number of visitors should focus on the fight against “budget tourists from the UK”, which account for 40-50% of the incoming flow in the summer. As restrictive measures, it is proposed to suspend the construction of new hotels and the transformation of existing facilities for tourism purposes. The maximum Mallorca wants to keep is 430,000 rooms, which are offered now.
In addition, before the start of the season, the Council will discuss with hotels changes to the scheme for selling and quoting places, food systems and alcohol prices, and other measures that will discourage British guests who choose the cheapest accommodation options. Already this summer, the number of inspectors involved in checking illegal tourist rentals will increase.
However, the Mallorca Hoteliers Association believes that budget British tourists will “fall off” themselves this year.
Association President Juan Ferrer said in an interview with German media that due to rising energy prices and other costs, hotel stays in Mallorca will cost 33% more this summer than last year.
“There will be a qualitative cleansing of tourism from those looking for cheap booze and sex,” the hotelier said.
Majorca’s position is also supported by Lanzarote. At a minimum, the Spanish island is refocusing its marketing on other European countries, and at the most, it is ready to consider restrictions on issuing new permits to receive flights from the UK.