AOn Mallorca there are temperatures around 30 degrees and lots of sunshine these days. Wonderful beach and bathing weather. But on the island, many people currently do not come out of the trembling. The hoteliers, tour operators, restaurant owners and also the bosses of the tourism authorities are always afraid when they look at the booking figures for the current summer season. The tourists suddenly disappear. "We had expected a decline for this season, but never the burglary that we are currently experiencing," said a spokesman for the hoteliers of the Spanish island of the newspaper "Última Hora" this week.
Above all, the Germans are currently doing a great deal around their actually favorite holiday island. Even on the "Ballermann", the party mile on the Playa de Palma east of the capital of the island, that is felt. You can often hear only speak German (and sing and bawl). The so-called Sauftourismus keep on the weekends and holidays for full houses, said a spokesman for the hoteliers of the Playa. But other, "calmer" tourists, who stay longer and often spend more money on the island, now obviously go somewhere else. "In June, the utilization will be only 50 to 60 percent," says the spokesman. This is up to 15 percentage points less than last year.
But not only on "Ballermann", also in other parts of the island you miss the Germans. For example, in Magaluf, west of Palma. So far, the "British stronghold" reports a decline of around six percent among its most important customers. "With the Germans, however, the loss is even greater, around 12 to 13 percent," explains the head of the Hotel Association of the Calvià region, Mauricio Carballeda. For July and August, one fears an even greater decline.
High discounts useless
But why are the tourists suddenly gone after a series of record years? Blame is the Brexit and the strengthening of tourism regions in the eastern Mediterranean, such as in Turkey. In many a Mallorcan hotel spending in this high season should be higher than revenue. The situation is so critical that you even look at the weather forecast in Germany. A repeat of the "Super Summer" in Central and Northern Europe in 2018 could be fatal for many people this time around. Heated months as in the previous year would have a very negative impact, the vice-president of the Hoteliers Association FEHM, María José Aguiló recently acknowledged.
Even discounts of up to 40 percent could not reverse the trend so far. Competitive destinations like Turkey, Egypt and Tunisia have even better deals. From a "price war" is the speech in Mallorca. The CEO of the Thomas Cook Group, Peter Fankhauser, flew to the island earlier this month to call on hoteliers for even greater discounts. The competition in the eastern Mediterranean offers partly "more quality" for less money. Carabellada warns against "panic measures". "That would be suicide for many (in Mallorca)," he warns. One must win back the tourists over the quality of the offer.
But the quality is often a problem. The problem, meanwhile, is not only that the rooms in Mallorca are smaller and often less comfortable than, for example, in all-inclusive resorts in Antalya, Turkey. The fight against the excesses of mass and binge tourism initiated three years ago by the left island government has so far been halted halfway. The tourist levy "Ökotaxe", which was introduced in 2016, is taking its toll, Fankhauser, Carballeda and the FEHM recently said in unison.
Sauf- versus luxury tourism
Especially those less wealthy tourists, who are a thorn in the side of this tax, are also bothered by the fact that in the course of the ever stricter rules of conduct in Palma and the surrounding area, the fun is less and less, as many experts and observers say. Since 1 April, all the beer gardens must be fenced off in a special "area of special tourist interest" around the notorious "Schinkenstraße". Drinks may no longer be taken on the sidewalk or on the street. There is also a ban on alcohol in shop windows and special offers such as "Happy Hour" with strong drinks at dumping prices. Violation threatens high penalties.
But on the other hand, the "tidying up" at the Playa does not go far enough for the well-to-do visitors. The left government is banking on "superior" tourism, promoting the construction of luxury hotels. But the operators of these houses report on guests complaining about drunken and violent tourists, as well as illegal street vendors and car park managers. They demand a harder intervention from the City Council in Palma and the security authorities. Especially since the recent reports of "African mafias" and "women's gangs" pile up, which are said to have robbed dozens of tourists at night on Ballermann. "Palma has become more insecure and dirty in recent years," laments the conservative island politician Mateo Isern.
Francisco Marín had therefore long called for an end to the "chaos" at the Playa. The police go in the beach area too lax against troublemakers, he complained again. Last year, however, the hotel owner threw in the towel and gave up his post as head of the hotel association of the Playa unnerved. Much is at stake here: Tourism has recently contributed more than 45 percent to the gross domestic product of the Balearic Islands. In the past ten years, the number of tourism companies in the region according to official figures climbed by eight percent to more than 18,000. Many now fear that Mallorca literally grows to death.
. (tagsToTranslate) Mauricio Carballeda (t) Peter Fankhauser (t) Tourist lull (t) Mallorca (t) Palma