The Majorcan capital of Palma is one of a few Spanish cities to have faced criticism for overcrowding this year – and seen locals fall out with tourists as a result.
In other words, it is just too popular, and it’s getting more so. In winter 2017/18, Palma saw a 6.5% increase in overnight stays from the UK.
The city has responded with new laws to restrict the number of rental properties in certain protected areas, so visitors will no longer be able to rent apartments in multi-family residential housing. However, it will still be possible to rent detached homes and villas, provided they are not in a protected area.
Four new bus stops have also been created to reduce overcrowding in the city centre, and new signposted pedestrian routes are planned for spring next year to encourage visitors to discover to lesser-known areas.
A new app is also due to go live this month. “Welcome Palma” will have live heat-sensor mapping to show visitors which areas are overcrowded and to suggest alternative attractions in line with their own preferences, be it culture or shopping.
Culture and shopping collide in the second prong of the tourist board’s promotion for 2019. The city recently launched an initiative designed to raise awareness of its comercio emblematico – emblematic shops – with the aim of helping tourists discover the authentic side of Palma and preserve the local heritage.
The initiative was born of the need to develop a sustainable year-round tourism model focused on key themes such as culture, shopping and art. Palma is publishing a catalogue that includes details of typical and traditional shops in the city that showcase Majorcan trades such as ceramics, glass-making and shoe-making.
To qualify, the shops must have opened before 1943, be in a heritage building and showcase traditional trades of the Balearic Islands.