Published on : Monday, May 16, 2016
Spain is getting bombarded with massive number of tourists as Europeans are choosing to visit Spain in conjunction with Greece, Portugal, and Italy over many a popular travel destinations like Turkey, Tunisia, Egypt, which have turned into terrorism hot-spots. Instead of being cheerful about the windfall, the travel industry is currently crumpling under pressure.
According inhabitants of Spain, cruise ships and flights are bringing both cash-flow and headaches. Hotels, restaurants, bars, roads and every nook and corner of Balearic Islands is spilling over with visitors from all over the world.
Although summer is just sprouting over, cruise ships have already started to form a queue in the Mediterranean, standing in the formation of floating estates. On the first week of May, in a single day, on an average 22,000 tourists appeared like ants at the port of Palma and disgorged into buses and cabs.
In 2015, 790 ships stopped over the ports of Balearic Islands of Menorca, Ibiza, and Mallorca; making them the second most visited destination in the Mediterranean. Well, this year Palma is expecting 524 ships, where Ibiza expects around 154. On Monday, in the new port of Mahón in Menorca, the first gigantic cruise ship MSC Armonia arrived with the hope of additional 3000 jobs for the locale.
Moreover, things are not moving very smoothly for the airport authorities too. Palma airport pushed their limits and allowed 100 flights to land instead of 66 in a single day. Researchers suggest that, this year is going to see a hike of 20% in the number of tourists from last year.
Last year, Balearics opened its door to 13 million tourists when its own population is just about a 1.1 million!
Geographer and spokesman at Grup Balear d’Ornitologia Defensa de la Naturalesa (GOB), Gerard Hau said, “This will be a crazy year. The infrastructure will not cope. Mallorca is booked out. We will have serious problems this summer.” He also added that there is not enough transportation available as the roads are already overcrowded with 60000 rental cars and buses. According to him, mass tourism is tricky, and if not handled properly, it can result in losing prospective tourists in following years.
As the tourism industry is both celebrating and freaking out at the same time, the denizens are protesting by creating graffiti mentioning, “Tourism is terrorism.”
To control the tourist-traffic and protect the environment, an “Eco-tax” of €2 a day has been introduced on 1st June.
Professor Geoffrey Lipman of The Sun Program stated, “If a cruise ship is dumping too many people in too small an area, then they shouldn’t be. I worried about that when I saw the first cruise ships going to Cuba; it’s a big problem. It could be damaging your assets, your coral reef, your resources, this tourist footprint that’s wearing away the Taj Mahal, for instance, or your culture, like the Hindu population in Bali watching hordes of crazy Australians on their beaches. The cobbled streets of Prague which began to be destroyed as masses of tourist buses arrived.”
Now it is for the world to see how efficiently the tourism industry near Mediterranean handles this newfound fame.