Travel

Balearic Islands – One of Spain’s Most Popular Tourist Destinations

Balearic Islands Balearic Islands

The Balearic island archipelago in the western Mediterranean Sea belongs to Spain now, but many political powers have governed this region starting with Phoenicians, followed by Carthaginians, Romans, Vandals, and the Moors, who arrived in 902.

King James I of Aragon in 1229 was successful in conquering the archipelago and annexed it to his kingdom. Today, it is autonomous region (1983) with its capital of Palma (880 000 population). The largest islands are Mallorca, Minorca, Ibiza, and Formentera.

After World War II, sun-starved and at the time straggling middle class Germans, `discovered` Mallorca for sun-bathing, vacations, and generally relaxing.

Mallorca can be reached (from Germany) after a relatively short flight (four hours), and enjoys a glorious Mediterranean climate, reaching low 30 C in July and August.

In 2013, approximately 14 million tourists flew to Mallorca for their annual vacations (Four million Germans, followed by 2.1 million British, 990- Spaniards, 760- Swedes, 338- French, 313- Swiss, 161- Austrians, 154- Italians, 104- thousand Irish, and many more thousands from northern European countries). The average tourist (25- 44 years) stays for 8.4 days and supports several of the 3646 restaurants, 5613 bars, and several Starbucks, spending untold amounts of Euros.

Millions crowd Mallorca`s beaches and on average take away 30 grams of sand, a total of 82 tons per season. 30049 Germans live in Mallorca, and either cater to their fellow Germans, or enjoy retired life. Many of the German tourists purchase property in Mallorca (37 per cent, British 18, and Swedes 6). Consequently, property prices become unaffordable for middle-class locals.

Now officials in Majorca have come to the conclusion that tourism may become a burden to citizens of the island or is on its way to becoming an impediment to normal everyday activities. Tourism, contributes to the GDP of any jurisdiction, but it also contributes to crime, increases cost-of-living for locals, imposes disturbing moral behaviour (prostitution and drugs are only some).

Now, Majorca’s governments are seriously thinking of imposing a quota on tourism to ease overcrowding of beaches, villages, traffic, and ultimately sky-high prices for life’s essentials i.e food, housing etc. Many tourist-seeking countries would love to be in a similar situation as is Mallorca, but think little of the negative impact of tourists on traditional life.

It is said that in restaurants some Germans insist that German beers be served, as well as German specialties (pork hocks with sauerkraut) and other dishes they eat at home. Locals resent such behaviour, and think that their way of life and culture are being threatened.

The majority of tourists travel to experience a new culture, environment, and live life as locals.

Why would any German or British subject want to travel to Mallorca to eat the same foods, drink the same beer, or wine and demand the same service as at home?

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