Palma Proposes Measures to Ban Mega Cruises and Tax Passengers

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On the heels of Barcelona’s Mayor Jaume Collboni and Valencia’s María José Catalá announcing measures to further limit cruise passengers from disembarking in the city to ease congestion and over-tourism, the mayor of Palma de Mallorca, Spain, has announced the city council will be seeking to do the same.

On May 29, 2024, Mayor Jaime Martinez unveiled a series of proposals aimed at mitigating the impact of mass tourism on Palma, the capital city of the Balearic Islands located on the island of Mallorca. Central to his plan is a partial ban on cruise ships to either limit the number of cruise ships or to allow only cruise ships who home port in Mallorca, situated in the Mediterranean Sea.

As reported by the Majorca Daily Bulletin, the mayor said the most important factor in easing over-tourism is to “regulate, limit, or prohibit the arrival of certain cruise ships, and permit only small and medium-sized ones.”

Palma de Majorca pano
Palma de Majorca (Photo Credit: Pandora Pictures)

He went on to add, “We also propose limiting the number of cruise ships or allowing only those that have Palma as their home port.”

The mayor also suggested implementing two new taxes, similar to those recently underway in Venice, Italy, that would charge a tourism tax to cruise passengers. One would be an arrival fee into port and another would be a fee to enter the city, potentially double-taxing passengers on ships that call on Palma.

Additionally, Martinez emphasized the need for a revision of rubbish charges across all ports, limiting rental cars in the city, limiting or banning “party boats,” cracking down on illegal accommodation rentals and banning new rental places, and limiting the size of tourist groups and guided tours to reduce the strain on local infrastructure.

Mayor’s Proposal Faces Opposition

The mayor’s proposal follows the recent announcement from Palma that authorities are moving forward with a renewal of cruise restrictions in place since May 2022.

The current partial ban limits the number of visiting vessels to a daily cap of three, with only one ship allowed to carry over 5,000 passengers. The Committee on Tourism, Trade, Employment, Culture, and Sport submitted a proposal to the city council and the Balearic Islands Port Authority (APB) last week. If approved, the agreement will move discussions to the International Cruise Line Association (CLIA) for an extension.

Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas
Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas (Photo Credit: Palephotography / Shutterstock)

However, Mayor Martinez’s proposal aims to further restrict cruise ships and passengers. Following his announcement, Spain’s far-right political party, Vox, and three additional opposing parties voted down the measures on May 30, claiming they were not consulted.

A spokesperson for Vox said the ban on mega-cruise ships is contrary to its policies. “We live from tourism,” the spokesperson told the Majorca Daily Bulletin. “Without it, the young people would emigrate. Before taking measures, we must be democratic. There must be consensus or there may be many repercussions.”

Although the proposed measures and details need to be addressed by multiple parties and organizations, Mayor Martinez said, “they will be carried out.”

Read Also: Amsterdam Makes Huge Move and Bans Cruise Ships

Palma’s summer season is underway and between June and August, the port will welcome nearly 250 calls, many of them mega-cruises, including Royal Caribbean’s 5,602-passsenger Oasis of the Seas and Norwegian Cruise Line’s 4,270-passenger Norwegian Escape

Currently AIDA Cruises’ AIDAcosma home ports in Palma de Mallorca and has 36 cruises scheduled between June and August. The ship has a capacity to hold 6,654 passengers and 1,500 crew members.

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