The population of Majorca - permanent and temporary - has been going up by more than other parts of Spain for many years.

06-04-2014D. Gonzalez

Overcrowded Majorca
It seems you cannot get away from talk of overcrowding and saturation. There was a perhaps alarming report on Tuesday on population growth in the Balearics. Projections up to 2030 suggest that the base population (those who live on the islands) is set to rise by around a third, while the maximum population (adding in all the high-summer influx) could go up to 2.5 million from its present just over two million.

The population study was by researchers at the University of the Balearic Islands and had been commissioned by the government's innovation and research directorate. This is part of the ministry which also includes tourism. For minister Biel Barceló, the findings must surely have lent weight to considerations of limits on tourist numbers.

Ships, cars and planes
One of the contributory factors to saturation, at least where Palma is concerned, is the number of cruise ships and their passengers. Last Tuesday was another of those days when a whole load of ships arrived - six in all. A report saying that the number of cruise ships due to come to Palma next year will increase will, therefore, not have allayed concerns about saturation in 2017. In July and August, for example, the number of ships scheduled to dock will be up by 21.

Away from Palma for once, and in yesterday's paper we drew attention to a video that had been posted on social media of cars queuing on the road in Formentor. This had come from Terraferida, one of the main voices against saturation of all types - on roads, on beaches, wherever. Out in the bay of Pollensa, there was also a report yesterday into concerns that plans for seaplanes will simply mean ever more overcrowding in the sea. No, you cannot get away from saturation talk; it applies everywhere.

National Day
The Formentor video had been taken on Wednesday, which was Spain's National Day. Heavy rain in Madrid meant that the flypast at the military parade had to be reduced in scale. In Majorca, the day passed as it normally does - just another day off - but there were plenty of people in Inca to see the parade by the Guardia Civil; it was also the day of the force's patron.

Monarch and winter tourism
While the Royal Family was out and about on Wednesday, a different type of monarch - the airline - was being rescued. Monarch has been a familiar feature in Majorca for years, so this was positive and welcome news, and one of you observed that Monarch has at least tried to keep some winter flights with the UK going. And as the tourism season draws to a conclusion, thoughts were turning - inevitably - to winter tourism and its general absence. On Friday, we observed how different things are in the Canary Islands. Figures released for this winter suggest that the number of UK tourists heading to those islands is up by a staggering 44%.

Poverty in Majorca
It certainly wasn't a case of how the other half lives. Friday's front page drew attention to the level of extreme poverty in the Balearics. One in ten people - 115,000 - are said to be surviving on less than 332 euros a month. The risk of poverty applies to very many more: a quarter of the population. And around a quarter have problems with paying the rent or the mortgage.

This was a thoroughly depressing report, and it came in a week when the government announced plans to evict people from its apartments for failure to pay rents. These people seem to be, however, ones who can afford to pay but have been choosing not to. The government wishes to house those genuinely in need, but its stock of apartments - fewer than 2,000 - is limited.

The paradise island, it needs occasionally reminding, is not a paradise for everyone.


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