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Bank Holiday warning for British tourists over protests at European hotspots

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British tourists heading for Majorca for the Bank Holiday weekend have been warned of major disruption as thousands will protest over anti-tourism on Saturday evening. 

The popular Spanish holiday island will be the latest to join the march against mass tourism and overcrowding, following Tenerife and other Canary islands last month. Ibiza is also said to have held protests on Friday evening, with anti-tourist sentiment being described as “dangerous”

The protest will be held in the capital of Palma on Saturday evening, starting at 7pm. 

Organisers have said they are blown away by the number of groups and organisations which have pledged their support to the campaign “Majorca is not for sale!”

‘Initially, we thought there would be about 2,000 people but now it is going to be considerably more,’ said a spokesman for Banc de Temps de Sencelles, the group organising the protest.

It has asked the government to lay on more buses and trains so that people from across the island can attend. The group says the protest will be followed by “other actions” over the next few weeks. 

“The demonstration aims to highlight the problem of access to housing in Mallorca, a general problem, but not isolated, because it cannot be separated from tourist saturation, the purchase of properties by foreigners,’ said Carme Reynés of Banc de Temps de Sencelles.

The chaos is allegedly set to continue into the summer, with Majorcans threatening to block the island’s airport and protest outside hotels. Last week, a group under the slogan “Més turisme, menys vida” – “More tourism, less life” – said it intended to cause chaos at Palma Airport over the Bank Holiday weekend. 

The protest will focus on the struggle local people are having with finding affordable housing due to the fact that owners can get higher prices for holiday rentals. It will also highlight other impacts of mass tourism, including overcrowded beaches, blocked roads and ruined beauty spots which they argue are ruining the island. 

While locals do understand the importance of tourism for local economies, they are beginning to believe that the negatives are outweighing this and patience is now wearing thin. 

Més per Mallorca, the Majorcan coalition, is calling for a reduction in the number of flights at Palma airport, saying: “Majorca is no longer overcrowded, Majorca is experiencing collapse.”

The Balearic Islands received almost 18 million tourists last year and this year bookings for the summer have increased by 15%, according to the Balearic president, Marga Prohens. 

The Balearic Government held its first meeting on Wednesday to ‘lay the foundations for a new tourism model’ in the face of the existing ‘social unrest’ and congestion on the islands.

The government is said to be launching a macro-survey among residents of the islands soon, to find out their opinion, quantify this summer’s traffic on the main roads and monitor the influx of visitors. 

“The time has come to adopt difficult decisions and transform the tourism model,” said the president. However, she warned that the model will not be active in the next couple of years. 

“The path to reaching agreements will not be easy but we owe it to the entire society in the face of the current situation of overcrowding of the archipelago and mobility problems,” she continued.

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