Anti-tourist protests could bring busy airport to a ‘standstill’ during summer holidays

A ‘citizen’s assembly’ discussed the next steps in the island’s fight against mass tourism

Benjamin Parker
Monday 20 May 2024 14:09 BST
Thousands protest in Spain's Canary Islands over mass tourism

Protests against overtourism could bring Palma de Mallorca’s airport to a halt this summer, impacting thousands of holidaymakers flying in and out of the popular destination.

The activist group Menos Turisme, Mes Vida (Less Tourism, More Life) held a “citizen’s assembly” on the Spanish island on Friday night, with more than 300 people attending to discuss proposals on how to tackle the large crowds of tourists that visit every year, including whether mass protests should be planned.

Among the discussions was bringing the airport to a standstill by “collapsing” operations there, reports Majorca Daily Bulletin.

Those in attendance were told: “It’s going to be an intense summer.”

No further details of targeting the airport were shared, although the tactic could be to cause gridlock on the roads near to the aviation hub by flooding the area with cars during peak season, reports The Sun.

The meeting discussed legal ramifications of disrupting the airport, with a suggestion that a fund be created to pay for potential fines.

“Collective strength is necessary for obtaining an immediate, medium-term and also long-term response,” said Margalida Ramis, president of environmentalist group GOB.

Mallorca is gearing up for a protest on 27 May – a time when thousands of travellers, including many from the UK with children on their half-term break, are going to be on holiday on the island.

Rising numbers of visitors to the Balearic Island have prompted action, with the organisers of that island’s protest calling for “the right to housing, the protection of the territory, of our own language and culture”.

They are demanding “accountability from institutions, because we want to live in our home, to protect our lives and because we do not want Majorca to become a luxury resort”.

Similar protests are expected in neighbouring island Ibiza this week, which follow on from protests in the Canary Islands last month.

The region’s president, Marga Prohens, said earlier in May that “the Balearic Islands have reached their limit” and caps on visitors should be put in place “not only to preserve the model, economic activity and the Balearics as a destination, but also to make the model compatible with the lives of residents”.

However, the mayor of Calvia, a region on the island of Mallorca, has condemned anti-tourism protests amid fears a crackdown on binge drinking will drive tourists away.

Mayor Juan Antonio Amengual said that although they are “changing Magaluf”, British, German and Italian tourists are still “really welcome” in the boozy Mallorcan hotspot.

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