Tourism has made the Balearic islands and many of it’s native inhabitants rich beyond their wildest dreams but the anti-tourism philosophy and the relentless quest for negative publicity that has been endemic over the last few years shows no sign of stopping.
This weeks addition to the ‘you couldn’t make it up’ list is the news that the Formentera government is pushing forward a new law that may leave you scratching your head in bewilderment.
This beautiful island is the jewel in the Balearic crown and with no airport relies solely on boats to bring tourists to it’s door yet a new maritime law will ban day cruise boats from docking at the only port in La Savina.
Now let that sink in for a minute (pun intended). A tourist island that’s only accessible by boat but doesn’t want day cruises to go there. It doesn’t want to cut back, limit or renegotiate it wants a total ban. No wonder the outside world is perplexed to what the Balearic Islands actually do want.
The new law won’t affect the larger ferry companies such as Balearia and Trasmapi who service the island on a daily basis throughout the year but will affect the 8 pleasure boat companies specialising in day cruises who are hopping mad as the new law will virtually kill off part or most of their business overnight. This week they have been remonstrating strongly with local politicians including Pepa Mari, who’s in charge of transport and mobility at Ibiza’s Island council.
The boat companies claim that the new measures ‘will reduce the quality and diversification’ that Ibiza offers to tourists by depriving them of the possibility of visiting Formentera directly from areas, such as the Marina Botafoch, Playa d’en Bossa, San Antonio and Santa Eulalia.
They have also reiterated that the new decree ‘is an attack on the freedom of business, equity and justice’ saying that 200 jobs could be in serious danger. The boat companies also point out that Formentera companies can still continue to offer day trips to Ibiza so the new law is discriminatory and literally one-way traffic.
The CEO of Mallorca based Meliá Hotels, Gabriel Escarrer, has also waded into the debate saying that the current perception that the Balearic Islands has too many tourists is so widespread that tour operators have asked him if the Balearic Islands ‘wants to commit suicide’ because they do not understand how the islands can adopt so many measures that harm competitiveness whilst at the same time sending out messages that generate uncertainty and transmit a rejection of tourism’.
Meanwhile the local press are reporting that Turkey and Egypt are seeing a 30% increase in demand whilst the Balearic Islands had a near 300,000 drop in British and German visitors in 2018 compared to the previous year. It doesn’t take a rocket science to decipher these numbers, a little common sense can see that people are deserting the Balearics in search of cheaper destinations that value tourism.
Welcome to the Balearics where we only want a certain type of tourist and if you’re ‘lucky’ enough to pass the means test you will be required to pay an extra tax on arrival at your all inclusive hotel which will soon not be allowed to serve alcoholic drinks and by the way don’t even think about that day trip to Formentera!