Half-term holiday fears as anti-tourism protests planned in the Balearic Islands

Holidaymakers may not have the warm welcome they expected in the Balearic Islands after locals protested mass tourism, ITV News Correspondent Sejal Karia reports

Hundreds of British families could see their half-term breaks affected, as residents across the Balearic Islands plan 'anti-tourism' protests.

Demonstrations are planned in Ibiza and its neighbouring island of Majorca - both popular holiday destinations for Brits - during May.

A group called Prou Eivissa (Enough Ibiza) is planning protests from May 24, calling for restrictions to be imposed on tourism on the island.

Similar protests will begin in Majorca on May 27 - the first Monday of half-term for many British families.

"Negative impacts of uncontrolled tourism"

"Ibiza cannot take anymore", according to Prou Eivissa, who said in a statement they were raising awareness of the "negative impacts of uncontrolled tourism".

But the group emphasised they were "in no way against British tourism", rather, the "type of tourism" the island attracts.

Hundreds of thousands of British tourists holiday in Ibiza every year, which is known as a party island, famous for its vibrant nightlife.

A quarter of Ibiza's tourists are British, with 800,000 Brits visiting the island in 2023. Credit: File photo

The Balearic Islands dealt a blow to holidaymakers earlier this month, by toughening laws on alcohol.

Alcohol sales will be banned on the islands between 9.30pm and 8am local time, and people caught drinking in unauthorised areas will face a penalty fine of up to 1,500 Euros.

But broader concerns around mass tourism are mounting. Writing on X, the Balearic Islands' President Marga Prohens said: "This government understands that limits are necessary. We must make possible coexistence between tourist activity and the well-being of the residents of the Balearic Islands."

Protest organisers in Majorca told the Majorca Daily Bulletin they wanted to "demand accountability from institutions, because we want to live in our home, to protect our lives and because we do not want Majorca to become a luxury resort."

They said they are calling for "the right to housing, the protection of the territory, of our own language and culture."

Majorca has introduced a series of rules in the last few years which affect tourists. A number of restaurants banned shirtless people or those wearing football shirts, according to the Chief Executive of Palma Beach.

Swimwear, trunks, and novelty accessories bought from roadside vendors - such as gold chains - are also said to be banned.

She later added that while she is "proud to be the president of a tourism community," the time has come to "set limits".

People gather during a mass demonstration against tourism in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain, on April 20. Credit: AP

Wider protests

This latest wave follows a mass of protests that have already swept other areas of Spain - namely, the Canary Islands and Barcelona.

Residents living in the Canary Islands say too much tourism is damaging the environment, driving down wages and squeezing locals out of the housing market. Some locals say they have been forced to sleep in their cars.

Protestors in Tenerife started a hunger strike on April 12, demanding the Canary Islands government tackle the effects of excess tourism in the region.

Hundreds of people linked arms to form a human chain to demonstrate against the building of an additional hotel and beach resort.

In April, up to one hundred thousand people took to the streets, demanding politicians take action against mass tourism.

The wider movement on the Canary Islands is called 'Canarias Se Agota', which means "The Canaries Have Had Enough".

Tens of thousands of people protested against tourists in Tenerife in April, ITV News Europe Editor James Mates reports

In Barcelona and the wider Catalonia region, locals have complained of tourists' water consumption - the supply of which is limited in the area.

Authorities are considering imposing water restrictions on tourists and hotels, as they look to tackle drought in the region.

Last year the then-mayor of Barcelona described tourism as a "great challenge" for the city, and suggested there needed to be a limit on the number of tourists during holiday season.

During her tenure, she limited the number of hotel beds, to allow residents to live in the busy centre. Her successor has since banned cruise ships from docking at Barcelona's main port. They must now dock at a separate port, a 30-minute bus ride from the city.

Tourism represents nearly 12% of Spain's economy, and while groups like Prou Eivissa say they don't want to discourage all tourism, they said there needs to be "a more responsible and respectful attitude for both the environment and the community."

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