As Mallorca summer crowds fade, property expert Amanda Butler looks ahead to 2018

Sustainable model needed for Balearic island 'jewel'

LAST UPDATED: 12 Oct, 2017 @ 11:39
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SUMMER has come and gone – a time for locals and expats to breathe a sigh of relief and get back to normal after the manic pace of the high season.

With record levels of tourists in Mallorca this year (apparently 1/3 of all visitors to Spain came to the Balearics) it was quite a hectic one, to say the least!

SUMMER SETS: Strong 2017 growth set to continue, but sustainable model needed, says Amanda Butler

With this upsurge in tourism one would anticipate strong growth and much needed benefits for the island as a whole – more income, more jobs,  increased mortgage lending, etc, with an expectation the international property market would follow the trend.

Estate agents island-wide were not disappointed, and although there have been issues with Brexit uncertainty and the weakness in the pound for the UK, property sales were booming, with particular volume from the Scandinavian market, as well as Germany, and in smaller numbers, the Brits and others.

There was of course the downside, mainly concerns of over saturation of the island.  It goes without saying that if we were feeling a little overwhelmed then it is more than likely expat home owners (a key element to future referral sales) and visitors were feeling the same.

Did the services and infrastructure hold up, or were the main attractions, key touristic spots and facilities at breaking point? And if so what will the impact be in the future – will our visitors wish to return, or those with second homes recommend buying here to their friends?

All good questions. Fortunately, for those of us who know Mallorca well, we know how to dodge the tourists and which areas to avoid.

However, with the inevitable visiting guests and family, experiencing some of the traffic jams and parking nightmares was not great fun.  As with anything we need balance – both locals and visitors need to be happy.

We need a stronger governmental focus on attracting more visitors out of season, with investment in services  and a greater variety of quality year round attractions, not dictated by any one lobby group,  be it the large hoteliers or those behind the holiday rental free for all!

With the anti-Airbnb lobby it appears holiday apartment rentals are doomed, but with the lack of availability in fairly priced quality hotel rooms this year, wouldn’t a fair move be permitting holiday rental apartments in key holiday resort zones, (and even room rentals in shared homes on a B & B basis which may help those financially strapped),  as opposed to residential areas such as Palma where locals have now been forced out by property speculators – one of the key anti-Airbnb gripes by locals?

We residents believe Mallorca is the jewel in the crown of Spain and wish to protect it’s sparkle  – with a model that is economically and environmentally sustainable, intelligently controlled but not manacled!

Somehow it does seem Mallorca just about got away with it and it is anticipated the current trajectory in property prices will be maintained into 2018, however with the visitor numbers reached this year something proactive at a government level needs to be done or there may be some serious future repercussions.

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