Tourism in Mallorca | Joan Enric Capellà publishes a book on tourism

Tourism in Mallorca | Joan Enric Capellà publishes a book on tourism
Tourism in Mallorca | Joan Enric Capellà publishes a book on tourism

Joan Enric Capellà (Campanet, 1979) has touched all the clubs in the tourism industry. Entrepreneur with Som Hotels, consultant, researcher, teacher, consultant, politician (first councilor for Tourism in Sa Pobla, in 2011),… Has he published the book Tourism or no tourism? (Lleonard Muntaner Editor), which he has already presented in numerous municipalities and in which he poses the challenges for this 21st century that Mallorca will have to take on in terms of tourism.

The title of the book does not give any indication of his position on the tourist phenomenon in Mallorca…
—Around 800 people participated in the subsequent debate in the presentations we made, and we also carried out a survey in which another nine hundred participated. With these 1,700 opinions we have a reliable thermometer of the opinion of Mallorcan society (ordinary citizens, businessmen, workers, etc.) regarding tourism and, in fact, I presented the results at the 1st Congress of Tourism of Civil Society. The big problem is that people talk and don’t know what they’re talking about, but it’s not the people’s fault either. There is a very important gap in terms of tourism education and it is inconceivable that in 2024, students in the island’s high schools are not being talked to for a minute about tourism. With an educated and informed population, we can begin to take on challenges to shape the tourism we want for the future, it’s not just a question of companies and governments. Otherwise, we are faced with a dialogue of idiots in which each party wages war on their own behalf and there is no way to reach agreements.

So, it is not a question of a few legislative periods…
—In tourism, and in all aspects of our society, a cultural transition of a few generations is necessary. Short-termism kills us and it is not a question of legislatures or specific decisions that do not take the future into account. It is about thinking in terms of generations, in the tourism we want in Mallorca by 2040 and in what each of us can do to achieve it.

Who should take the lead in this process?
—There is no leadership at the moment and I maintain that we should not have excessive confidence in the government in power and in the political leaders; they will not assume that role and even less so if we want it to be in the long term. The large tourist companies have also abandoned the role of leadership and an organisation as favourable to the sector as Fomento del Turismo was an emblem in the seventies, but now it no longer fulfils any cohesive function. A state pact is essential, which takes into account all sensitivities.

In this regard, aren’t there many conflicting positions?
—Of course, and nobody wants to give up anything, but to achieve this cultural transition it is essential that we all give in. If we want a job well done and in harmony, we must promote the pedagogy I was talking about earlier and accept that we are 914,000 legal inhabitants with as many views on tourism as there are people, but I believe that conflicting positions can be reconciled and agreements reached for the general interest.

Society seems to have woken up to protest against tourist saturation…
—The surveys we have carried out show this anger, but it is multifactorial. There are those who complain about taxes, about the congestion on the roads, about the crowded beaches or about housing… I think that the label ‘saturation’ is used intentionally and with the desire to create clichés to provoke a contagion effect. Tourism activity and its influence on our society is such that what may be a complaint for a citizen who has gone to the protests, as is the case with tourist housing, may be the economic support of the person sitting next to them at the demonstration. Another example of the fact that we are faced with a multifaceted situation.

You were the first mayor of Tourism for Sa Pobla in 2011, was it necessary?
—People laughed at the creation of this area and now Sa Pobla is the municipality without a coast that has the most tourist places. In 2011 the current mayor, Biel Ferragut, was in the opposition and applauded the initiative. Now there are some tourism days in Sa Pobla and what seemed like a fantasy a little over a decade ago is now a reality. The municipalities of the Part Forana have a very different problem to those of Palma or Calvià. Excessive tourism is very occasional and the main problem is access to housing, although it must be remembered that it is the Mallorcans themselves who sell, which is totally legitimate.

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