The mirador in Deya in summer 2022, representative of tourist saturation. | Pilar Pellicer

The change of government in the Balearics and the change of administration at the Council of Mallorca will have ramifications for tourism policies. Essentially, these will halt a decrease in tourist numbers, one immediate amendment due to be a scrapping of the moratorium on new tourist accommodation places that was introduced in February 2022.

Although it seems likely that Marga Prohens and the Partido Popular will govern in minority and not with Vox in coalition, the Council of Mallorca may well be different and Vox will enter the administration. Since the start of last year, the Council has acquired far greater responsibilities for tourism than was previously the case.

On tourism policies, there is much common ground between the two parties. One issue on which they differ is the tourist tax. Vox want to get rid of it, but the PP have said that they will maintain it. So, the tax will remain, but any talk of an increase in the rates will now cease. The PP have also made clear that they intend using the revenue for what they say tourists believed it was for - the environment and modernisation of tourism infrastructure. There is likely, therefore, to be an amendment to the 2016 sustainable tourism tax legislation in order to specify these purposes.

Prohens has said that she will revisit provisions of the 2012 tourism law, which was introduced by a PP tourism minister, Carlos Delgado. These allowed hotel expansion by putting an extra floor or two on hotel buildings in exchange for upgrades in star ratings. This policy in fact continued after the left pact took over in 2015 but ended in 2017. The Delgado law, it should be noted, did keep a check on the total number of tourist accommodation places insomuch as new places that were created had to be balanced by the elimination of places elsewhere.

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The Mallorca Hoteliers Federation has meanwhile welcomed the change of government, its president Maria Frontera having said that it is a "very necessary change in order to be able to keep moving forward and without any type of interventionism".

In other respects, the PP are expected to continue with elements of the law for tourism circularity and sustainability - improvements in energy efficiency, implementation of renewable energy, water reuse and enhanced  waste management. On cruise tourism, the PP have said that they will negotiate with the cruise industry so that there is "staggered arrival" of ships in order to avoid "a sense of saturation".

One other way in which things will change will be in the messaging, the left pact having at times been accused of signalling that tourists were somehow unwelcome. This said, it remains to be seen what happens with a key element of tourism legislation that has given rise to this impression - the tourism of excesses law.