Mallorca: Ballermann was better

Mass tourism ecologically and economically more useful than quality tourism

Mass tourism in Mallorca © Sascha Böhmke / Pixelquelle
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Ballermann, concrete castles, cheap tourism: From this negative image Mallorca wants to move towards a greener tourism on a green island. But is quality tourism actually more compatible than mass tourism? No, say researchers from the Ruhr University Bochum, because many years of studies on landscape change in Mallorca show the opposite. Thereafter, pure mass tourism is clearly better ecologically and economically due to its spatial limitations.

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In their investigations, the researchers compared aerial photographs from the 1960s, 1990s and 2004 and came to a frightening conclusion: Where originally forests, cliffs, scrubland and shrubberies were to be found, the secondary residences join today their countless swimming pools and golf courses.

This means not only the loss of original biotope types as a habitat and recreational value - also for tourists - but also a sell-out of the island, the researchers said. In some communities, the share of second homes is over 60 percent. In addition, Mallorca has been struggling with a serious water problem for years.

Every house has its own pool, every place has its own golf course

Where every homeowner irrigates his lawn and fills his own pool, where golf courses are supposed to be lush green, water consumption increases: while many of the rural communities only record a per capita consumption of far less than 100 liters of water per day, consumption is high according to the results of the scientists in numerous tourist communities to more than 250 liters per capita and day, occasionally even over 400 liters. The daily water requirement of a golf course of up to 2, 000 cubic meters corresponds to the daily consumption of a place with about 8, 000 inhabitants. The water consumption is twice as high in tourist-dominated municipalities in summer than in winter. display

"The ecological balance of groundwater recharge and groundwater abstraction is lost in Mallorca in the long term, " notes Schmitt. Due to the sinking groundwater level, seawater penetrates into the wells; the salinity of the drinking water reached critical concentrations. Only the construction of a seawater desalination plant managed to remedy. "But one should not forget that the supply of the most elementary 'food' has come about as a function of a high-tech system, " says Schmitt.

Mass tourism is ecologically and economically better

From an ecological point of view, pure mass tourism was clearly more environmentally friendly than the Mallorcan model of quality tourism, which has a landscape and ecologically destructive effect, and therefore has enormous economic potential for damage His studies of the geographer prove.

"The big difference between traditional mass tourism and new prestige tourism is that mass tourism generates much higher revenues while at the same time consuming much less land, " says Schmitt. "A better solution than opening up new areas for tourism would be to improve the quality of existing areas with the aim of keeping the same number of guests."

(idw - Ruhr-University Bochum, 04.04.2007 - DLO)