Cruise ship moored at the port of Palma de Mallorca

According to the Guardian, Palma de Mallorca’s citizens have drawn up a manifesto to petition for the curbing of “megacruise” ships entering the region, proposing limits of one cruise ship per day being allowed to dock in the city’s harbor and a maximum of 4,000 passengers permitted to disembark on any given day.

Presently, about five (even as many as eight) of these megaships can be found moored in the port, unloading up to 15,000 cruise passengers a day into the urban area. Nearly half of all of Mallorca’s 900,000 residents live in Palma and the disruption to their daily lives, as well as the health of their commerce and community, has become more than a nuisance.

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The “Manifesto Against Megacruises”, was penned by a group of over 30 non-governmental organizations (NGOs), residents’ associations and community groups, and has already been signed by more than 11,000 islanders. It is set to be presented to city officials at a conference in Palma on Friday, July 26, 2019.

The manifesto outlines numerous and multi-faceted grievances against megaships for their increasingly detrimental impact upon the function and health of local society, as well as the myriad of environmental harms being caused by the megaships and massive influx of tourists into the city. In a recent report compiled by European Federation for Transport and Environment, Palma de Mallorca was second only to Barcelona among European ports most polluted by cruise ships.

Currently, about 500 giant cruise ships dock in the Port of Palma each year, offloading two million tourists into the urban area. Altogether, the island received around 10 million tourists in 2018, but the petition points to, “unfair, discriminatory and permitting public treatment to megacruises, in comparison to other forms of local tourism,” calling it, “intolerable.”

Marta Ferriol, coordinator of the NGO Tramuntana XXI, one of the organizations backing the manifesto, told the Guardian, “The problem is cruise ship tourists arrive all at once and they saturate the historic part of the city. They don’t spend money in the city. We’ve recently seen a report from Venice that says this type of tourism brings few benefits to residents.”

Neus Truyol, the Palma councilor for sustainability and urban issues, said: “Just as we have taken measures to limit tourist apartments and hotels, now it’s the turn of the cruise ships.”

She did note that any restrictions passed into law would be unlikely to take effect before 2022 since the Port of Palma has already signed certain contracts with cruise companies, but that would still be possible to introduce measures to reduce the impact of overtourism on Palma’s historic center.

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