Spanish Tourism on the Cusp of Change

Unacceptable attire in Palma's shopping district Credit: Facebook

There has been growing outrage within Mallorca’s social media groups over tourists walking the streets in swimwear.

The UK press has been covering the rising tension between holidaymakers and locals, with two stories appearing in the Daily Mail in recent days.

A Changing Social Landscape

The social landscape of Mallorca changes overnight with the start of the summer season.  Areas where locals live, work, and children go to school, become suddenly populated with barely clothed tourists.

Residents expect visitors to enjoy the island’s stunning beaches and pool areas in swimwear but is it acceptable to wear as little as possible away from the water?

Carolyn Becker from Peguera says, “There has been a cultural shift among tourists in recent years.  They feel increasingly entitled to enter a supermarket in a bikini, or with a bare chest.  Shops are having to designate staff members to turn people away who are trying to enter in swimwear.  The same with restaurants.  Business owners are taking a stand and refusing entry to those who are not dressed appropriately but it’s a constant problem.”

There are several reasons why wearing swimwear while walking Mallorca’s streets is generally considered inappropriate and irresponsible:

Cultural Sensitivity

Mallorca has cultural norms and expectations regarding appropriate attire.  Wearing few clothes away from the beach or pool can be seen as disrespectful to local customs and sensibilities.

Local Regulations

Some areas of Mallorca have regulations prohibiting swimwear in certain public spaces.  Failing to adhere to these rules can contribute to a negative view of tourists.

Respect for Residents

Tourists should remember that they are guests in Mallorca; walking around in swimwear in areas where locals live and work can be disruptive and offensive.  It shows a lack of consideration for the daily lives of residents.

Resident Cecile Gamst Berg feels that Spain’s islands need to approach negativity towards tourists with caution – “When I first arrived here in 2018, it was ‘Tourists Go Home’ on every wall.  Covid and the subsequent killing of small businesses put paid to that.”

Ron Clarke from Santa Ponsa says – “We want tourists to come to Mallorca, enjoy the sunshine, relax and have fun.  Just put some clothes on!  Would you go to Waitrose in a thong back home?”

Business owners and official bodies are keen to strike a balance between the needs of locals and the wants of visitors.  With movements across Spain to restore equilibrium gaining momentum, it feels as though Spanish tourism is on the cusp of change. 

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    • Montyswiper

      19 May 2024 • 12:17

      At our local hospital in Torrevieja last week, an English couple turned up and all she had on was a skimpy bikini with a tiny unhygienic and embarrassing.

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