31-08-2018

As was reported earlier in the summer, tourists are finding alternatives to regular accommodation. There have been some examples of people sleeping on beaches, while motor homes have led to problems in the area near to the Ciutat Jardí beach in Palma.

Another possibility is a hammock, which can be bought from a sports shop for as little as ten euros and be hung up in any convenient location. These alternatives, it might be said, are the result of there not being tourist camping sites and facilities, which are very popular in parts of mainland Spain, such as Catalonia and Valencia.

In Palma, town hall ordinance states that camping in public spaces is not permitted. This means no tents or motor homes, except when there is express authorisation. Just to reinforce the message, the bylaw makes clear that sleeping - either during the day or during the night - is not allowed in these spaces.

The tourism ministry is saying very little about these apparently irregular forms of "accommodation". Overnight stays of this type "are outside our control". The ministry has no figures as to the number of people and cannot make an assessment of the situation. All it can say is that there are times when there is a "gap" between the number of people who arrive in Majorca and hotel occupancy. This gap, however, is usually explained by the fact that people who arrive at the airport are also residents or are staying at family residences. To which it should add holiday rentals.

The Majorca Hoteliers Federation says that it is unaware that there is "a problem" and that it is a "very specific issue".

What about the possible harm to the environment? Margalida Ramis of the environmentalists GOB believes that there is a problem with the capacity for inspection. At Cala Varques in Manacor, there are people sleeping there every night. "In protected natural areas (such as Cala Varques), this is not permitted and it is tightly regulated. Sometimes people don't know, but there are others who just ignore the regulations." Ramis adds that there are people who want to be in touch with nature but that there are others who believe that anything goes.