Ibiza Protests Highlight Tourist Tensions in the Balearic Islands

On Friday around 1,000 protesters gathered in Ibiza to rally against mass tourism. “We want a limit on new tourist places and a ban on more illegal flats. Fewer flats on the market mean higher prices,” explained Rafael Gimenez, spokesperson for Prou Ibiza, the group behind the protest.

The wave of protests continued on Saturday, with thousands of residents in the Balearic Islands voicing their concerns as the summer season approaches. With banners reading “SOS Residents” and “Enough Mass Tourism,” protesters marched through Palma de Mallorca, the capital of the largest Balearic Island. Around 10,000 people joined the demonstration, according to a Spanish National Police spokesperson.

“We want the authorities to stop people who haven’t lived here for at least five years from buying properties and to enforce stricter controls on holiday accommodations,” Carme Reines, a member of the group that organized the Palma protest, told Reuters.

The Balearic Islands, which attracted 14.4 million tourists last year, rely heavily on tourism, which accounts for 45% of the region’s GDP. However, the influx of visitors has led to overcrowded streets, environmental degradation, and soaring housing prices. Adding to the tension, new regulations have been introduced in Majorca and Ibiza to curb excessive behavior. These include a ban on public alcohol consumption between 9:30 PM and 8 AM, with fines up to $1,500 USD for violations.

The protests reflect a broader frustration with the impact of mass tourism on local communities, as residents seek a balance between welcoming visitors and maintaining their quality of life. With the summer season approaching, the call for sustainable tourism in the Balearic Islands is louder than ever.

Photos by Getty.