Local officials want to transform Magaluf from a raucous resort into an upmarket destination. Will Covid-19 be a help or a hindrance?
For years, officials in Magaluf, a resort town on the Spanish island of Mallorca, have waged a battle against booze-fuelled tourism. They’ve banned pub crawl tours, happy hours and late-night alcohol sales in shops. They have long been upfront about their goal: to transform the raucous resort into an upmarket destination, the kind capable of attracting families and year-round tourists.
Now, they’re hoping the coronavirus pandemic might succeed where their efforts have so far faltered. “You can look at Covid as a threat. But it’s also an opportunity,” says Javier Pascuet, the director of tourism for the municipality of Calvià, which includes Magaluf. “When you’re driving, you can turn a little. But when you’re stopped, you can back up or change direction dramatically.”
Set on a white sandy beach and usually home to an ample offering of party boats, jam-packed pool parties and heaving bars, Magaluf receives a fraction of the more than 10 million visitors who arrive on Mallorca in a normal year. But the hard partying and, at times, sexually charged antics of these travellers – often young, often from the UK – tend to dominate international headlines about the island.
“It’s a symbol of the degeneration of tourism,” says Antoni Janer, who is part of a group that recently held a tour of Magaluf for locals, walking them through a stretch of bars and nightclubs once dubbed “500 metres of shame” by a former regional leader. “It’s a tourism model that trivialises uncivil behaviour that, I’m sure, in England would be penalised by law. And here we turn a blind eye.”
Respectfully yours, Andrey Willie. Sometimes I somethink write ;) My life principle "As you want people to do with you, do so with them"