Brits heading to Majorca this Bank Holiday weekend face disruption as thousands of


Brits heading for Majorca this Bank Holiday weekend are facing major disruption as thousands of people take to the streets to protest about tourist saturation.

The popular holiday island is the latest Spanish destination to see demonstrations, following on from Tenerife and the other Canary islands last month.

The protests will be held on Saturday evening, starting at 7pm, and will be centred on the capital of Palma.

Organisers say they are astounded by the number of groups and organisations which have pledged their support.

‘Initially, we thought there would be about 2,000 people but now it is going to be considerably more,’ said a spokesman for the organising group, Banc de Temps de Sencelles.

Thousands of people demonstrate against tourism policies on the island of Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain on April 20, 2024

Thousands of people demonstrate against tourism policies on the island of Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain on April 20, 2024

British holidaymakers could face holiday chaos this summer as Majorcans crank up their anti-tourism campaign by threatening to block the island's airport and protest outside hotels (pictured: holidaymakers partying in Majorca)

British holidaymakers could face holiday chaos this summer as Majorcans crank up their anti-tourism campaign by threatening to block the island’s airport and protest outside hotels (pictured: holidaymakers partying in Majorca)

Shops in tourist hotspots like Magaluf have been banned from selling alcohol between 9.30pm and 8am since 2020 as part of legislation that the government claimed was the first of its kind

Shops in tourist hotspots like Magaluf have been banned from selling alcohol between 9.30pm and 8am since 2020 as part of legislation that the government claimed was the first of its kind

The main focus of the march will be the difficulty local people have in affording homes on Majorca due to the higher prices owners can get for holiday rentals.

But the protestors will also spotlight on all other aspects of mass tourism which they say is ruining the island.

Last week, a group under the slogan ‘Més turisme, menys vida’, which translates to ‘More tourism, less life’ said it intended to cause chaos at Palma Airport over the coming weekend.

Tourist saturation has become the biggest single topic on Majorca over the last few months.

While residents understand that tourism is vital for local economies, patience is wearing thin.

Locals say there is traffic congestion, overcrowded beaches, blocked access roads, ruined beauty spots and just too many holiday-makers flocking to the island.

Anti-tourism sentiment in Spain

In Spain – the world’s second most visited country – anti-tourist sentiment appears to have grown, particularly in the Balearic and Canary Islands. Of Spain’s 85 million tourists in 2023, 14.4 million and 13.9 million foreigners travelled to the Balearic and Canary Islands respectively.

The visitor figures are a stark contrast with the number of people who actually call the islands their home. According to 2019 figures, just 1.2 million people live across the Balearic Islands, and 2.2 million people live on the Canary Islands.

With locals feeling their way of life is coming increasingly under pressure, discontent has come to a head in several forms this year.

Mes is calling for a reduction in the number of flights at Palma airport, saying: ‘Majorca is no longer overcrowded, Majorca is experiencing collapse. You cannot have airports that, year after year, break records.’

The Balearic government says it is willing to change the tourist model and has started a round of talks with the public. As yet, no concrete measures have been agreed.

Banc de Temps de Sencelles has labelled its campaign ‘Majorca is not for sale!’ and is so surprised by the promised support that it has asked the government to lay on more buses and trains so people from all over the island can attend.

‘The demonstration aims to highlight the problem of access to housing in Mallorca, a general problem, but not isolated, because it cannot be separated from tourist saturation, the purchase of properties by foreigners,’ said Carme Reynés of Banc de Temps de Sencelles.

The group says the protest will be followed by ‘other actions’ over the coming weeks.

Local people are particularly angered by traffic jams across the island, including in and out of Palma and have described the centre of the capital as ‘unbreathable’ in the middle of the tourist season.

Beauty spots are also clogged up, with queues of up to four hours long to some of the beaches and viewpoints.

The Balearic Government held its first meeting on Wednesday to ‘lay the foundations for a new tourism model’ in the face of the existing ‘social unrest’ and congestion on the islands.

‘The time has come to adopt difficult decisions and transform the tourism model,’ said Balearic president, Marga Prohens.

'Tourist Go Home' is seen scrawled in English over a wall underneath a real estate promotion billboard in Nou Llevant, Majorca, a neighbourhood that has seen a massive influx of foreign buyers over the past few years. It is one of many instances of anti-tourism graffiti

‘Tourist Go Home’ is seen scrawled in English over a wall underneath a real estate promotion billboard in Nou Llevant, Majorca, a neighbourhood that has seen a massive influx of foreign buyers over the past few years. It is one of many instances of anti-tourism graffiti

Protesters flood the streets of Tenerife last month (pictured), calling on local authorities to temporarily limit visitor numbers to alleviate pressure on the islands' environment, infrastructure and housing stock, and put curbs on property purchases by foreigners

Protesters flood the streets of Tenerife last month (pictured), calling on local authorities to temporarily limit visitor numbers to alleviate pressure on the islands’ environment, infrastructure and housing stock, and put curbs on property purchases by foreigners

People on a hunger strike sit in wheelchairs during a protest for a change in the tourism model in the Canary Islands, in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain, last month

People on a hunger strike sit in wheelchairs during a protest for a change in the tourism model in the Canary Islands, in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain, last month

 She said the Balearic economy has developed until now with a growth pattern based mainly on ‘volume and quantity’ and that it has been ‘incapable’ of growing in ‘value or quality’.

But she warned the change in model will not be active in one year or two.

‘Today we begin to work for a great social and political pact for the social, economic and environmental sustainability of the Balearic Islands,’ she said. 

‘The path to reaching agreements will not be easy but we owe it to the entire society in the face of the current situation of overcrowding of the archipelago and mobility problems.

The Balearic Islands received almost 18 million tourists last year and this year bookings for the summer have increased by 15%, the president confirmed.

The government will launch a macro-survey among residents of the Balearic Islands to find out their opinion, quantify this summer’s traffic on the main roads and monitor the influx of visitors to tourist areas and certain natural enclaves.

Protests in Majorca come after more than 50,000 people took to the streets of Tenerife back in April to protest against tourism on the island in the Canaries. 

Demonstrators were seeing brandishing  ‘you enjoy, we suffer’ placards, claiming that the huge influx of tourists to the island is causing major environmental damage, driving down wages and squeezing locals out of cheap affordable housing, forcing dozens to live in tents and cars instead.



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