Inflation effects: Thousands protest against mass tourism in Spain's Balearic Islands

Inflation effects: Thousands protest against mass tourism in Spain's Balearic Islands


Increase in rents cited as one of the main reasons

  • Locals are unhappy despite the fact that tourism generates 45pc of its gross domestic product
  • The region was the second most popular of Spain for tourists last year, attracting 14.4m holidaymakers
  • Some 18m tourists visited Catalonia and 13.9m people reached the Canary Islands, the Spanish archipelago off Western Africa
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PALMA DE MALLORCA (Web Desk) – Many in Pakistan want to boost tourism industry and see the foreign tourists in the country with a sole of aim of generating business activity. Just check how the United Arab Emirates has transformed itself during the past four decades and how Saudi Arabia is planning to make the kingdom a favourite destination for the people from across the globe.

Tourism obviously creates business opportunities of the locals and creates lots of employment opportunities. But Pakistan cannot take advantage of its culture and heritage as well as natural settings due to a plethora of problems – ranging from security to social resistance.

But the post-COVID pandemic world, where regional conflicts like the Ukraine war has triggered an economic crisis, tourism is also creating problems of the people who live in the centres which attract millions of foreign visitors.

The question is how and why? And the answer is “rising cost of living”, as the tourism certainly boosts local economies but at the same time makes everything expensive for the locals – a trend they can’t afford in today’s persistent inflation and shrinking purchasing power.

Spain is an example where thousands of people protested in Balearic Islands on Saturday against mass tourism ahead of the summer season.

Holding posters reading SOS Residents, Enough Mass Tourism, protesters marched through Palma de Mallorca, the capital of the largest Balearic Island. About 10,000 demonstrators took part, a Spanish National police spokesperson said.

A smaller protest with a few hundred people was staged in Menorca, Reuters says.

"We want the authorities to stop people who have not lived here more than five years from buying properties and to put more controls on holiday accommodation," said Carme Reines, from a collective which organised the protest in Palma de Mallorca.

Javier Carbonell, a real estate agent, said over half of rental properties were used for holiday rents and were not affordable for locals.

"We want less mass tourism and more sustainable tourism," Carbonell said.

After Catalonia, the Balearic Islands was the second most popular region of Spain for tourists last year, attracting 14.4 million holidaymakers, the Spanish National Statistics Institute said.

Reuters says some 18 million tourists visited Catalonia and 13.9 million people visited the Canary Islands, the Spanish archipelago off Western Africa.

Tourism generates 45 per cent of the Balearic Islands' gross domestic product, according to data from Exceltur, an industry organisation.

On Friday, about 1,000 protesters took part in a demonstration against mass tourism in Ibiza, one of the most popular Balearic Islands.

"We want a limit on new tourist places and a ban on more illegal flats. With less flats around on the market, it pushes up the price," said Rafael Gimenez, a spokesman for Prou Ibiza which organised Friday's protest.

In April, thousands of people protested in the Canary Islands, calling for a temporary limit on tourist arrivals to stem a boom in short-term holiday rentals and hotel construction that is increasing housing costs for locals.