Majorca Property News

Majorca real estate: implications of mass tourism on Mallorca


Impact on the population development and distribution

Due to the mass tourism has taken place since 1960, a radical change in population development, structure and distribution. In the first decades of this century, Mallorca was characterized by emigration, which has transformed itself into a positive net migration. 80% registered in 1986, not immigrants are born residents in the Balearic Islands until after 1960. 1991 the population of Mallorca to 25% of immigrants from outside the Balearic Islands and 4% of foreigners together (Schmitt, 1999 p.78). This approximately 30% of the population is already strong, despite some long stay not the Catalan language. During this time, but also increased the birth surplus. At the same time also took place, a change from a rural to an urban society.
The tourism in Majorca has also led to a change in the regional population distribution. The focus of population concentration are, firstly, the capital of Palma, then the axis Palma - Alcudia and the coastal regions. The latter are partly due to tourism, an increase of> 100% in the period from 1971 to 1995 to register. On the other hand, predominantly agricultural community have experienced a stagnation in the interior or a decline. The population in these areas also shows a significant aging.

Impact on the economic and employment structure

In the area of employment structure can be a significant change from the primary to the tertiary sector, ie notice from the traditional rural society to the services firm. But this also leads to an economic dependence on tourism, which constitutes the bulk of the jobs in this sector. In the secondary sector show similar dependencies, for the construction industry is also working mainly for the expansion of tourism infrastructure and also the traditional leather goods, jewelry and Textiindustrie is increasingly cater to the tourist-oriented market.
Within the agricultural sector is associated with the decline in employment and a decline of farms and agriculturally used area. From the operational task hectares were affected mainly small businesses <10, while there seems to be among the smallest farms <1 ha, an increase resulting from the conversion of farms in second homes. This trend results in the development of tourism in the hinterland, and a rise in land prices. For existing farms can distinguish between small businesses, which are included in the margins of profitability and economies "in the process of speculation about a possible conversion into second homes and recreational facilities" (Schmitt 1999, p.87) and the usually larger enterprises, mainly for the needs of tourists produce (livestock farms), with irrigated forage crops and farms with irrigated fruit and vegetables. The characteristic of the Mediterranean olive cultivation in the terraced fields of the Sierra de Tramontana has declined from 1860 to 1992 by 50%. One reason is the shortage of labor during the harvest season due to the competition of the service sector.
Overall, tourism has given the island of Mallorca and its inhabitants, a special economic position within Spain: The per capita income of 43,000 DM in 1998 almost twice as high as on the mainland, the unemployment rate, at 13.8% well below the average. The economic growth of recent years in each case was approximately 5%, 1999 even 6%, twice as much as in rest of Spain.

 Landscape change as a result of mass tourism

The landscape changes that have occurred on the island due to the increasing mass tourism, will be shown exemplarily by using the 3 coastal regions. It is these areas in order to Alcudia, Cala Ratjada and El Arenal. To that end, samples are compared by the Landsat 7 - Satellite images from the years 1984 and 2000 together. The images come from 14.7.1984 (both in the left half) and 2.7.2000 () right half and are using the Landsat / Satlupe-Duttke been processed by the program. It is either Einkanalbilder, color composite images or clusters. Supportive still be involved mapping and evaluation of Thomas Schmitt (ibid., p. 99ff). The sometimes considerable differences in color result from the fact that the year 1984 was significantly more precipitation than in 2000. Were at the airport in Palma, 1984, to July, ie measured the time of the satellite record, 187.1 mm of rainfall in 2000 over the same period, only 43 mm. Moreover, (also in 1999, the fall and winter rains have turned out much lower than in the long-term average only 135 mm from August to December compared to an average of 250 to 300 mm).

Ecological impact

The ecological effects appear primarily on the coasts, but also in other parts of the island, the consequences are felt.
As an example of the utter destruction of ecologically valuable landscape elements of the former wetland Sat Porrassa along with the brackish marsh Salobrar Grand southeast of Palma Nova is mentioned.
On the mapping of 1968 (Schmidt 1999) can still be seen clearly), the marsh surface (marked with blue-green reeds, and the occupation of the site was limited to a few areas along the coast.
The comparison with the mapping of 1992 makes significant changes to become visible. The marsh has been erected and the building has extended itself to that location) (see top card signatures. The rest is covered with perennial ruderal vegetation () brown signature. South of it is the further expansion of the tourism infrastructure is observed (karting blue) water park and golf course green, purple dotted signature. The satellite image shows the landscape veränderung impressive.

  Another big problem that is closely linked to destruction of the landscape, the water shortage, especially in the summer months. Water resources are limited, given the summer drought and the variability of rainfall in itself, but by the coincidence of peak demand by agriculture (irrigation) and tourism, the problems are extremely aggravated. In addition, the irrigated area has been enlarged from 1960 to 1987 by 140% (from 12,200 to 29,100 ha). Also, this is indeed an indirect result of tourism, because a majority of the production is destined for the supply of tourists. But agriculture consumes only about 50% of drinking water in Mallorca, especially the tourism itself is on the rise in water involved. Thus, it is expected that the demand will increase from 76 million cubic meters in 1991 to over 90 million cubic meters in 2002. Tourism contributes not only through the bath and shower joys of tourists to this consumption, but also by the swimming pool of the hotel, the irrigation of gardens around the hotels and the many golf courses that have been built in recent times (see impact 1).
So more and more wells have to be created, which will be covered by the demand, but that a lowering of the groundwater table results in (in the range of Großbrunnens and the source of Palma for the most part its waters to 20 m from 1991 to 1994 (Schmitt 1999 , p.96). This reduction means that seawater penetrates into the groundwater (salt water intrusion) and the salinity increases and the use of artesian water for drinking impossible. In part, peaks above 5000mg / l were measured in each source. The of World Health Organization limit is set at 200 mg / l. So the drinking water supplied by tanker in Palma. In other parts of the island, where the limits "just passed" by twice, the well water mixed with fresh water. For this purpose since 1995, were transported daily from 25,000 to 30,000 cubic feet Ebrowasser by tankers from the mainland to Mallorca. is removed in a 1995 addition was completed daily 40,000 cubic meters of groundwater desalination, the salt well water. In 1999, a desalination plant was (the biggest in Europe) to Palma put into operation, but already can not meet the rising demand. Therefore one wonders carry water from an abundant source of Sóller on the northwest coast of Mallorca through a pipeline to Palma.
To what extent a landscape change and degradation of the vegetation is really occurred as a result of the lowering of the water in Majorca, can be assessed only with difficulty. The satellite images from 1984 and 2000 also give a precise indication, because the rainfall patterns of the months before these pictures were very different (see Impact 2). The much drier vegetation in 2000 is probably attributable largely to lower rainfall.


Given the many failures, which here sometimes have been detected, inevitably raises the question about the future of the island and tourism there. The overwhelming success of the tourism industry has created an economic mono-structure (see impact 1). For this reason, it seems clear that similar) as in other tourist areas (eg Alps, a return to the time before the mass tourism is not possible. This raises the question of just how the government of Mallorca in the future, dealing with tourism, the type of tourism they want and how negative impacts can be contained if possible. Regarding the type of tourism has already given clear choices, in the direction of the quality of tourist offer. While currently only about 10% of the hotels to the four-or five-star standard, will in future mainly built houses and upgrades to be "torn off budget" (1995: 22 hotels and 13 apartment complexes with 3615 beds). Another measure to recover the money for the elimination of environmental damages, is the planned introduction of environmental taxes. Thus, tourists are staying in a hotel, pay depending on the category of the hotel from 0.25 to 2 euros per day or night. The government hopes that this annual income of approximately DM 120 million, but the elimination of existing environmental damage or to prevent new extreme stress is not just a question of money, but also the centrally coordinated planning. Nothing has obviously been lacking in the past. The planning authority rests in the whole of Spain at the municipal level. Some of the existing laws of the buildings have encouraged rather than restrict it. Thus, the Land Law of 1976 allowed the construction of 630,000 housing units. For comparison, the stock was in 1987 at 260000 (Schmitt 1999, p.92). This movement led to a large extent for the conversion and construction of second homes. Another example is the Nature Conservation Act of 1991 (Llei d'Espais), after the third of the island's land area is designated as a nature reserve. However, this law will not protect these areas before the settlement, only planar construction is prohibited.
Thus it is clear that the magnitude of tourism in Mallorca is clearly reached its limits, or in some cases This has also been exceeded. A further expansion of tourism infrastructure and a further landscape consumption should therefore be rejected. Therefore remains only to improve the facilities already exist within the meaning of the above already mentioned measures. Additional precautions to prevent a further lowering of groundwater and saltwater intrusion must be taken, which is possible only through a restriction of water supply (eg through price increases) for certain uses. Another direction could be an attempt to make tourism more evenly over the year, thus reducing the peaks of the load. Also in this direction, there are already approaches.
The fact that something needs to change is inevitable, because otherwise there can be similar to Mallorca on the Spanish Mediterranean coast in the seventies and partly and eighties, as a result of unresolved environmental problems as a result of boomartigen tourism development, the industry suffered a significant decline. Also in Mallorca Surveys have shown that, especially in the regions in which the environmental impact of tourism on the landscape, and most consumption is greatest, the number of holidaymakers who do not even want to come again, with up to 20% at the highest is (Schmitt 1999, p. 71). These are the Bay of Palma (Palma to El Arenal) and Costa Ponent in the southwest of the island.