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SOS for the Balearic Islands | They are unable to serve 20 million tourists


The implementation of limits and restrictions on tourist flows welcomed by the Balearic Islands was put on the table by the president of the government of the Spanish island group, Marga Prohens, pointing out that hosting almost 20 million tourists a year is not sustainable. However, he clarified that these restrictions are not against tourism. “This is not about demonising the main industry of the Balearic Islands,” he said emphatically.

He explained that tourism generates 87% of GDP and 40% of employment in the Balearic Islands, with more than 200,000 jobs, during an extraordinary plenary session.

Mrs. Prohens defended the debate on economic, social and environmental sustainability. As he said, “all together we must consider the transformation of the islands’ economic model, with the common conviction that courageous measures and a change of course are needed, as the current growth rate is not only unsustainable, but does not translate into prosperity for citizens.”

He said that, although it would be easier for the government to go it alone, the whole administration and society as a whole must be involved in the discussion in order to define measures that guarantee the coexistence of residents and visitors and the sustainability of the natural environment in the short term, but also to lay the foundations for a change of course for the future.

The discussion will be organised at three levels, starting with the website “The islands you want #TuTries”, followed by 12 sector-specific working groups (such as tourism strategy, transport and natural resources, among others) and an expert committee, responsible for establishing sustainability and assessing the impact of the proposals submitted.

Mrs. Prohens explained that the process will consist of six phases: setting up the round table, identifying the problem and its root causes, identifying the transition or transformation and ways forward, reaching consensus on the actions, and adopting and implementing the measures.

She defended the government’s commitment to innovation as the key to this process and announced that on Wednesday the European Commission had just declared the Balearic Islands as an “Innovation Valley”, an innovation hub specialising in circularity and economic sustainability to promote investment in innovative projects and interregional cooperation.

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