Mallorca protesters say ‘this has only just begun’

Locals marched through the streets on the weekend to with banners that read “Mallorca is not for sale”

Natalie Wilson
Tuesday 28 May 2024 10:33 BST
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Protesters demonstrating on the streets of Palma de Mallorca say that marches against overtourism will continue until the Balearic government introduces measures to counter the housing emergency on the island.

Thousands of locals made their way through the island’s capital on Saturday, warning tourists to “go home” with banners which read “Mallorca is not for sale”.

The estimated 10,000 protesters headed for Weyler Square, where holidaymakers were out for dinner and drinks.

Protesters in Palma de Mallorca on 25 May
Protesters in Palma de Mallorca on 25 May (AFP via Getty Images)

A neighbourhood organisation from Sencelles in central Mallorca, Banc del Temps, planned the 25 May protest.

Banc del Temps spokesperson Javier Barbero, one organiser of the large demonstration in Palma, said: “This has only just begun”, the Majorca Daily Bulletin reports.

Barbero added that Mallorcan citizens feel “suffocated” by the housing situation but insisted “we are not saying ‘no’ to tourism” completely.

According to data from Exceltur, an industry organisation, tourism generates 45 per cent of the island’s gross domestic product, with 14.4 million holidaymakers visiting the Balearic Islands last year.

The group against excessive tourism said in a statement on Facebook: “The right to housing is an ignored constitutional right.

“They take us from our home and the island to benefit tourism [...] because we can’t pay.”

Protest demands to the Ministry of Housing include preventing tourists from buying properties on the island if they have not lived there for more than five years, regulations on holiday accommodation rental prices, and measures to declare the Balearics are experiencing a housing emergency.

“If measures aren’t taken we will continue taking to the streets until we see action,” Barbero said.

The protest follows mass demonstrations on the Canary Islands in April with calls for Tenerife to temporarily limit tourist arrivals to stem short-term holiday rentals and hotel construction that is driving up housing costs for locals.

Similar protests at Palma de Mallorca’s airport in peak season could bring air travel on the holiday hotspot to a halt if measures are not introduced to protect the island from overcrowding.

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