The Balearic Islands are becoming increasingly popular among tourists, putting the archipelago’s environment, culture, and authenticity at risk. In 2022, over 16 million visitors arrived on the islands, causing an unprecedented mass tourism crisis. During August of that year alone, more than one million travelers were registered, almost as many as the archipelago’s resident population. In the struggle to preserve these precious resources, activists have chosen creative and bold action.
The mass tourism in the Balearic Islands
The Balearic Islands are a haven of natural beauty. With their immaculate beaches, transparent waters, and warm weather, they are a preferred spot for tourists from all over the globe. The four principal islands, namely Mallorca, Ibiza, Menorca, and Formentera, see a high volume of visitors annually. Unfortunately, this surge in tourism has led to a concerning ecological disparity.
To protect this fragile ecosystem and preserve the very essence of these islands, adopting more respectful tourism practices is becoming urgent:
- Reducing water and plastic consumption.
- Reducing waste.
- Respecting local standards can contribute to sustainable tourism.
Against mass tourism, Mallorca uses… fake signs!
Activists from an anti-capitalist group called Caterva have taken a unique approach to drawing attention to environmental issues affecting Mallorca, a popular European destination. They have placed fake signs on the island’s beautiful beaches, which are among the most affected by overtourism. These signs, written in English, warn visitors of potential dangers such as “dangerous jellyfish,” “rock falls,” or “no swimming allowed.”
Although humorous, these fake alerts are designed to grab English-speaking tourists’ attention and alert them to mass tourism issues. The objective is to decrease overcrowding on specific beaches, ensure visitors’ safety, and safeguard the island’s environment.
Although the Balearic government has implemented decrees to regulate excessive tourism, such as prohibiting certain alcohol sales and promotions in bars, Caterva activists argue that more needs to be done.