The political debate centres on tourist numbers. | Jaume Morey

As tourism is the main industry in the Balearics, it has naturally been a key issue for the elections, with political debate focusing on the number of tourists and therefore on tourist saturation (overcrowding).

A means of controlling the number lies with control of accommodation places. To this end, a Balearic government moratorium on the granting of new places has been hailed - by the government - as a step in the right direction, even though the number for the whole of the Balearics (some 18,000) is very low when one considers the current availability.

Since the start of the millennium, the number of all accommodation places in Mallorca has increased by 55% from 265,340 in 2000 to 411,025. While hotel places have gone from 261,424 to 307,686, those for holiday rentals (legal, registered rentals) have risen from 3,916 to 103,339. It is the latter (allied to the illegal supply) which attracts blame for saturation and for distortions to the residential accommodation market.

Related news

To the fore in attacking saturation are Més, yet it was a Més tourism minister, Biel Barceló, who introduced legislation to "democratise" tourist accommodation. Hoteliers shouldn't have it all their own way. Wealth from tourism needed to be distributed. Legislation therefore allowed apartments to be registered as tourist accommodation. The legislation was passed in 2017. In 2015, the number of registered places was 37,730. By 2017, it had risen to 89,045.

In nine of Mallorca's 53 municipalities, the number of accommodation places (hotel and registered holiday rentals) greatly exceeds the number of residents. Calvia, with 68,478 places, has more accommodation than anywhere else in Mallorca, including Palma. It has 52,458 residents. The Palma figure is 57,413, which places Alcudia - 41,215 - in third with a number of accommodation places getting on for twice the resident population (22,717).

The other seven municipalities, in order of accommodation places, are Sant Llorenç, Santanyi, Pollensa, Capdepera, Sant Margalida, Muro and Son Servera. In the case of Sant Llorenç, the number of accommodation places is three times the number of residents - 27,532 against 9,035.