15,000 anti-tourism protesters boo holidaymakers in Majorca as organisers vow 'this is just the start'

27 May 2024, 13:28 | Updated: 27 May 2024, 14:43

The demonstration made its way to popular tourist spot, Weyler Square
The demonstration made its way to popular tourist spot, Weyler Square . Picture: Alamy

By Will Conroy

Thousands of anti-tourism activists have protested in the streets of Majorca over the weekend in the first of several mass demonstrations planned.

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Around 15,000 locals took part in the protest as they booed and jeered tourists, expressing anger over the spike in property prices on the Balearic island over the last decade.

The demonstration worked its way through the capital Palma before heading to Weyler Square - a popular tourist spot for dinner and drinks.

There were chants of “tourists go home” by the activists, who were holding banners with the message “Salvem Mallorca, guiris arruix” which in Catalan Spanish means “let's save Majorca, foreigners out”.

Another banner translated to: “Wherever you look, they're all guiris.”

“Guiri” is a colloquial term used to describe holidaymakers who are renowned for heavy drinking, often in an offensive manner.

Holidaymakers out for dinner during the demonstration
Holidaymakers out for dinner during the demonstration. Picture: Alamy

Locals have grown frustrated as property prices in Majorca have more than doubled in the last decade, making the Balearic islands the second most expensive region in Spain, behind Madrid.

Since 2014, the average cost of a typical 80 square-metre home has increased by 108% from £126,000 to £263,000, according to Spanish property website Fotocasa, despite the average annual salary of the island being around £15,324.

Meanwhile, the national increase for Spain during the same period was just 29%.

The sharp increase has been fuelled by foreign investors turning family homes into tourist accommodation, according to campaigners.

This weekend's action was the largest protest of its kind since the anti-tourism demonstrations that took place in the Canary Islands last month.

The event in Majorca took place just a day after 1,000 activists took part in a similar protest in Ibiza on Friday night.

Read more: Canary Islands urge Brits to continue visiting after thousands of residents join anti-tourism protests

Read more: Brits may be forced to pay new tax to visit popular Spanish holiday destination after mass anti-tourism protests

The Palma protest was organised by Banc del Temps - a campaign group that has expressed its anger at the rise in property prices.

Following Saturday's protest, Banc del Temps spokesman Javier Barbero said: “This is just the start of things. If measures aren't taken we will continue taking to the streets until we see action.”

Another group operating under the slogan “Majorca is not up for sale,” hailed the organisers of the event saying “you are heroes and you have made history”.

They added: “Now our government should open its doors wide open to you and call you to a meeting so that you can present your and our demands.

“With 25,000 people behind you, you are an organisation that should be received this week by Balearic Islands' government president Marga Prohens.

“She should take note and put urgent measures in place.”

Following the weekend’s protest, Banc del Temps made public its manifesto stating its demands that only residents of at least five years should be allowed to buy a property and that there should be a temporary ban on holiday rentals.

One of its spokespeople said: “This island should be a place where our children can grow up with safety and dignity, with controlled tourism that doesn't condition our lives.”

Crowds of people during the weekend's demonstration
Crowds of people during the weekend's demonstration. Picture: Alamy

Laura Lau, of Banc del Temps, told MailOnline: “Houses and apartments that were family homes have been bought by foreign investors who rent them out to tourists and leave nothing for local people. This is why property prices in Majorca have reached unaffordable levels.

“We need to make people aware of the problem of housing in Majorca which already affects us all.

“Every day there is someone looking for new housing because their rent has gone up or they are kicked out of their home because it has been put up for sale to foreigners.

“We are in a housing emergency. The government needs to regulate the price of housing - there is no future for Majorca if the island is solely for the benefit of property speculators.”

The campaigners have divided opinions of foreign holidaymakers with some showing their support for the issues, while others have accused them of biting the hand that feeds them.

Another Majorcan-based association, Menys Turisme, are involved in proposals for another more radical protest.

There have also been discussions of a protest taking place at Palma Airport during the peak tourist season.

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