While tourism is booming in Mallorca, the beaches are shrinking. Experts caution that without human intervention, there will be no beaches in the future.
Palma – Mallorca is one of the most popular travel destinations in Europe. So, it's no wonder 2023 could be a record year after the pandemic break. The tourism industry already recorded 30 percent more bookings for May than in 2019, despite a holiday in Mallorca becoming significantly more expensive.
While holidaymakers and hoteliers are happy, displeasure is growing among the islanders. "The overcrowding crosses all borders," said the environmental organization Terraferida. Especially in danger are the beaches in Mallorca. The research report "Balearic Sea Report 2022" showed that the sensitive ecosystems on the holiday island are gradually degraded.
Erosion and Mass Tourism Threaten Mallorca's Beaches
Between 2002 and 2012, 20 percent of the beaches in Mallorca and Formentera fell into poor condition. Urban beaches such as S'Arenal, Cala Millor, or Cala Blanca are particularly affected. In addition, the quality of bathing water is deteriorating. The main reasons for the loss of sand are erosion, mass tourism, and the tourism infrastructure development.
According to eco experts, rising sea levels and storms are also swallowing masses of sand. The intensity of storms around the Balearic Islands has increased. Often, much sand or beach is removed and washed into the sea.
Beach Holidays in Mallorca: Gloomy Forecast
The water is warming up much more than it did 20 to 30 years ago. Last summer, we occasionally had sea temperatures around the Balearic Islands around 30 to 31 degrees. There was no cooling down. Global warming is more severe than ever since climatological records began – experts warn. Above all, humans have played a major role in this: natural factors alone can no longer explain this.
How and whether the beaches in Mallorca recover remains to be seen. According to experts, this is not possible without human intervention. In the meantime, many beaches are already artificially filled with sand. Hardly anything will recover on its own. If nothing is done, there will be no beaches in Mallorca in 30 to 40 years. Then the beach holidays in Mallorca will be over.
The tourism law introduced last year is intended to slow down mass tourism in Mallorca in the future. For example, hotels are no longer allowed to create new beds, and the number of cruise tourists is reduced. A maximum of only three ships per day is allowed to dock in Palma.