Mallorca has finally left the devastating years of the Corona pandemic behind and is preparing for a super season. If the year turns out the way it started, visitor records are on the horizon. The island airport counted almost 860,000 passengers in January alone. That was more than even 2019, the last year before Corona. And that despite the fact that it sometimes snowed unusually heavily on the sunny island in January and February.
At 177,000, German travelers again accounted for the largest share of foreign passengers. One of them is Marcus. "I just wanted to take a cheap vacation. That's why the decision was made in Mallorca," says the man from Cologne. The small travel budget benefits from the fact that the freelance actor can stay with a friend in addition to a few nights in a hotel.
In times of high inflation, the question of price should also be asked of other tourists. "The Mallorca holiday in 2023 will be around 33 percent more expensive than in the previous year," says Juan Ferrer, President of the Palma Beach Quality Campaign, which many hotels and restaurants on Playa de Palma have joined. The flights, going out to eat, the night in the hotel - everything is becoming more expensive. "People notice it even when they're shopping. Due to its island location, prices on Mallorca rise even more than on the mainland."
Malle holidays are becoming more expensive - for several reasons
In the past three years, the price for a Mallorca holiday has roughly doubled, says Ferrer. The costs are also likely to increase in the long term because of the tourism law introduced last year, which prohibits hotels from increasing the number of beds in order to curb mass tourism. "This year has not yet had any effects. It is to be hoped that future price increases will also be accompanied by better offers from the hotels," says Ferrer.
The Mallorcan does not believe that the Germans will be deterred by this. "They work too hard. Nobody wants to sacrifice vacation time," says Ferrer with conviction. However, the trend is towards planning the trip in the long term in order to save money. "Because of the pandemic, we tended to have last-minute bookings last year. That has now changed."
The airport is also getting fit for the large rush of holidaymakers. Excavators arrived last week. The airport is to be renovated over the next 39 months for 200 million euros. However, work is suspended between April and October so as not to jeopardize the season. A complete overhaul of the terminal is planned, more check-in counters, new passages to the gates, and the security check is to be relocated.
Anyone who just wants to party is no longer welcome
This year, however, no changes will be noticeable within the building. It looks different outside, where a new cycle path will be built by March. For the first time, the airport can also be reached by bicycle. The planned tram will have to wait until 2027.
Ferrer hopes that more expensive could also mean better. In his view, the price increases could keep one or the other party vacationer with a low budget away from the island. "10 to 15 percent will probably look for another travel destination." In Ferrer's opinion, that would not be a disadvantage, quite the opposite.
Because Palma Beach has been fighting for years against party holidaymakers who misbehave at Ballermann and usually don't leave much money on the island. The Mallorcan advises an island vacation in the early season. "The best travel time for Playa de Palma is from the last week of March to the first week of May. Then the quality is particularly high. The weather is good and the young drinking tourists are not there yet," says Ferrer.
Wages in tourism are meager
However, there are concerns in Mallorca as to whether enough seasonal workers will come to the island in the summer given the expected influx of visitors. Wages in Spain are low. The minimum wage is 1080 euros. In Mallorca, that's hardly enough for the rent. There is rarely an apartment for less than 1000 euros. Even a shared room on the island usually costs from 400 euros. The housing shortage is so great that the government is discussing social housing in converted sea containers or a legally difficult to enforce ban on the sale of real estate to foreigners.
Born out of necessity, there have already been settlements made up of caravans. "I have no criminal record, I don't do drugs, I've worked my whole life and I can't afford housing in my country. It's humiliating," says a security guard who has been sleeping in the car for six months. In the past few months, around 30 involuntary campers have gathered in the parking lot of the Son Hugo swimming pool in Palma. "We all have jobs, but the money just isn't enough," says Juan, who hasn't had a home for five years. "In the summer we will be even more," he is sure.