The season on Mallorca is over and the island is preparing for hibernation. Time for the hoteliers on Playa de Palma to take stock. The numbers are correct. But there is no real joy.
At Ballermann these days the hotel owners don’t know whether to laugh or cry. From an economic perspective, this year’s holiday season on Playa de Palma with the famous party mile was definitely a complete success.
The hotels in the area in the southwest of the Spanish Mediterranean island, which is extremely popular especially with German tourists, were on average almost 87 percent full, said the Association of Hoteliers of Playa (AHPP).
“This is a very good value and is similar to the years before the corona pandemic,” said association president Pedro Marín to journalists. The AHPP announced that the 2019 value was exceeded by around two percentage points, as was that of the previous year, but by a significantly lower figure.
The increases are all the more astonishing when you consider that room prices in the Balearic Islands rose by an average of 10.9 percent compared to the previous year. According to the statistics agency INE, only the Basque Country (11.2 percent) had a higher annual price increase in Spain as of September.
Good business – bad mood
But Marín doesn’t feel like celebrating. The increasingly bad behavior of many Playa visitors is clouding the good numbers. The 47-year-old spoke plainly: In terms of excesses and drinking, it was “one of the worst seasons of all time”.
Marín doesn’t say this, but the visitors from Germany bear a large share of the responsibility for the misery. Simply because they account for six out of ten visitors to the playa. This year the proportion of Germans was a good 59 percent. The Spaniards follow a long way behind with a good five percent, followed by the British, Dutch and French, among others.
A look at the media and police reports shows that the Germans are often at the center of the excesses. During the past holiday season there were fights every week. Drunk vacationers stagger around on the street when they are sober and often become aggressive. An alleged gang rape in July – four Germans are still in custody as a result – and the murder of a German in October particularly stand out. There were also repeated arguments between bouncers and holidaymakers. A video made headlines that showed the employees of a bar on the so-called Schinkenstrasse literally chasing a German soccer team with batons.
The Ballermann is the root of the evil, according to Marin. This year, 185 vacationers were kicked out of the hotel because of bad behavior. 90 percent of them in the party mile area. 62 percent of those affected are German, 25 percent Austrian or Swiss.
Anti-excess decree gives hope
In the fight against drunk tourists, hoteliers are now even offering beds to the police. “So far no one has accepted the offer,” said Marín. In the summer there is a special task force on the Playa, but in the hotelier’s opinion that is not enough. “If we start the new season with this squad, we won’t be able to get the problems under control.”
Looking to the future, drinking tourism in Ballermnann is more of a concern than inflation, the uncertainty surrounding the wars in Ukraine and the Middle East, and the increasingly frequent heatwaves that threaten to hit Mediterranean countries’ tourism revenues. Playa de Palma is now the sole black sheep of Mallorca. The British holiday stronghold of Magaluf used to be considered wilder, tougher and more brutal.
“Things are going well there now, which is because the town hall of the municipality of Calvià is taking action,” says Marin and would like to see a similar initiative from the Palma town hall, which is responsible for the Ballermann. There is hope in a new anti-excess decree that the Balearic Islands government is working on and which is due to come into force across the island before the next season. There should be higher penalties. In addition, the serving of alcohol should be better regulated.
But back to the good news: the peak season is getting longer and longer, says Marín. “The high season used to run from the beginning of May to the end of October. This year, holidaymakers were there in droves in April.” Because of him, the drinking tourists can stay at home.