Thousands of demonstrators gather in Mallorca to protest against 'excessive tourism' which has inflated property prices, driven up the cost of living and created traffic chaos

Spaniards call for fewer holiday flights, rental cars and cruise ship clampdown

Thousands of demonstrators took to the street in Mallorca this evening to protest against 'excessive tourism' which they blame for overwhelming the popular holiday island.

Protesters carrying banners with anti-tourism slogans and banging drums gathered at the Plaza de España in the centre of the capital Palma de Mallorca.

Police officers armed with batons and wearing stab proof vests surveilled the area as the demonstration from riot-protected police vans began at 7pm local time.

Police closed the city's main road as the protesters marched around the old town. Onlookers applauded from the pavements as the demonstrators chanted for 'help'.

People from all walks of life gathered to call for limits on the number of visitors which they accuse of ruining the lives of locals by inflating property prices, causing traffic jams and driving up the cost of living.

📣▶️ VÍDEO | El clam ‘Mallorca no es ven’ ja es fa sentir al Parc de les Estacionshttps://t.co/vz1f9wfZ7S pic.twitter.com/wa8KYoUK6b

— Diari ARA Balears (@arabalears) May 25, 2024

Thousands of protestors took to the street in Mallorca to demonstrate against the impact that 'excessive tourism' has had on the holiday island (file photo)

Thousands of protestors took to the street in Mallorca to demonstrate against the impact that 'excessive tourism' has had on the holiday island (file photo)

Demonstrators stage a protest against tourist overcrowding in Ibiza on Friday

Demonstrators stage a protest against tourist overcrowding in Ibiza on Friday

Among the marchers are teachers, hotel workers, businessmen and retired people who have told how the huge number of visitors have ruined the once idyllic Spanish sun-spot, with one family forced to leave the island due to the spiralling cost of property.

The Spaniards are calling for fewer holiday flights, a clampdown on cruise ships and the slashing in the number of rental cars available under the slogan; 'Mallorca is not for sale!'

It is the latest anti-tourism protest across Spanish territories, following demonstrations in the Canary Islands, Barcelona and neighbouring Ibiza.

Mother-of-three Patri Vecina told MailOnline: 'We have lived in the same rented house for ten years. But in December the owner told us that he was selling the property to foreigners and that we had to move out.

'I work in the hotel industry and my husband is a builder. We

cannot afford the inflated price of property in Mallorca so we were never able to buy our own home.

'Now we cannot afford to live in Mallorca anymore we are moving to Asturias in the north of Spain.

'It was our dream to bring up our children in Mallorca but that cannot happen.'

Patri and her husband were initially paying £500 per month (Euro 500) for the rural three-bedroom house in the centre of the island. This increased to £690 per month (Euro 750) before their landlord put the house up for sale.

The country house on the outskirts of the town of Sencelles is now for sale for £383,000 (Euro 450,000).

Property prices in Mallorca have more than doubled in the past ten years, making the Balearic Islands the second most expensive region in Spain after Madrid.

In 2014 a typical 80 square metre home cost an average of £126,000 (Euros 147,000) but this has gone up 208 per cent to an average £263,000 (Euros 308,000), according to Spanish property website Fotocasa. Where as the national increase across the whole of Spain was 29 per cent during the same period.

The spike in the property prices has been fuelled by foreign investors, many of whom have turned family homes in tourist rental accommodation, local campaigners claim.

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Laura Lau, of El Banc de temps Sencelles pressure group that coordinated the demonstration, 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 Mallorca have reached unaffordable levels.

'We need to make people aware of the problem of housing in Mallorca 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.

'Many of them are now leaving Mallorca because when they work and earn Euro 1,500 per month it is not enough to afford a home.

'We are in a housing emergency. The government needs to regulate the price of housing.

'There is no future for Mallorca if the island is solely for the benefit of property speculators.'

The average salary in Mallorca is about is about £1,277 (Euro 1,500) per month or £15,324 per year, although the island's minimum wage is just £965 (Euro 1,134) per month or £11,580 per year.

Teacher Marga Gari told how her children will never be able to afford to buy their own homes because of the spiralling cost of living.

Marga, 50, told MailOnline: 'Quite simply there are too many tourists. My children will never be able to buy their own homes because foreigners have pushed to price of property up.

'Everything is more expensive than it should be because of tourists – food in the market, clothes in stores, everything.

'You can hardly walk down the streets here in Palma because of the number of visitors.

'We do not blame the foreigners; we blame the government for letting things get this bad.

'There needs to be limits; limits on the number of planes, a limit of one cruise ship per day and a limit on the number of rental cars.'

Protestors in Ibiza hold up posters including one reading 'my lawyer lives in a rented car' during a rally against tourism on Friday

Protestors in Ibiza hold up posters including one reading 'my lawyer lives in a rented car' during a rally against tourism on Friday

Ms Gari claims many items in Palma's historic Mercat de l'Olivar central food market are now beyond the reach of local people.

Her colleague Marta Cano, 40, told how she had to move home due to the spiralling cost of accommodation in the islands capital Palma.

She told MailOnline: 'The island is so crowded now, in the summer it's unbearable.

'I can no longer afford to live in the centre [of Palma] because tourists have pushed up the prices.

'There are traffic jams and the time, and the beaches are so crowded.

'There are people walking around the town with no shirts on. This is not the environment that I want my two-year-old daughter to grow up in.

'In the summer we leave the island. I cannot stand it. We go to the north of Spain where there are less people, where it more relaxed. '

Businessman Marc Rey told how he is forced live with his parents because of the cost of property.

Marc, 25, a financial consultant told MailOnline: 'I have a good job and I am paid well but I cannot afford to buy my own place. So I still live with my parents.

'I have nothing against foreigners but there needs to be a balance between the needs of the local people and the visitors who come here.'

Retired banker Pedro Torres claimed tourists were not solely to blame for the island being overwhelmed.

He said: 'In the past ten years some 200,000 people have moved to Mallorca. They are not all tourists, they are people from the mainland and South America. But together they create a big stress on our infrastructure.'

Nurse Catalina Estelrick added: 'We must limit the number of tourists coming to Mallorca. We are being overwhelmed. There are simply too many people.'

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