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Posted By Richie Prior - Managing Director - Globo Balear Entertainment Group

A Bumper Year for Majorca - But can we cope?

5 Mar 2024

Mallorca looks like it’s going to have a bumper season, that’s not just coming from me take a look at what industry experts are saying.

The CEO of Tui Stefan Baumert highlights Mallorca as one of the preferred Mediterranean holiday destinations. Mallorca is in fact exceeding all expectations: “Mallorca is way ahead in terms of current bookings and we expect demand to be higher than ever this summer.”

Steve Heapy the CEO of Jet2 says “with more seats and hotels on sale than ever, Mallorca is quite simply the perfect holiday destination.”

The President of the Mallorca Hotel Federation, Maria Frontera, says that “in addition to July and August, British tourists are increasingly opting for Mallorca in the months before and after the summer”.

Palma’s airport Son Sant Joan, will break all historical records in terms of air traffic. Both the number of planned seats and the number of flight movements will reach unprecedented levels.

This is evident from data released by the Spanish Association for the Coordination and Facilitation of Slots. This consists of the aviation authority AENA and fourteen European airlines. Moreover, it concerns the traffic forecasts for the summer period from March to October.

According to AECFA, the airlines will offer 33,483,816 seats. That is an increase of 16.3% compared to 2023. This follows a year that already set a record with an increase of 9.7% compared to 2019, until then the year with the most planned seats (29.6 million).

From where I work at Pirates we are seeing unprecedented levels of online bookings making us reconsider our show calendar on a weekly basis. 

Now this is all well and good but in order to be able to look after all these people the island needs a strong and reliable workforce. The problem is that since Brexit and the pandemic the workforce that used to arrive in the summer months isn’t coming anymore. Firstly the Spanish workers that would come here from the mainland in their droves are now not coming. Whilst the wages are averagely better here, the cost of living is not. Property rentals have become too expensive for most, with quite a few hotel chains now housing their workforce in their own hotels. The overall costs of bringing in goods from the mainland has made prices rise to a level seen before. I’ve mentioned the problem in getting a taxi here on the island before and when you get to the peak season it’s almost impossible to get one. But that is the same across nearly all industries, there’s a distinct lack of workers. If you cannot find those people you may choose to look elsewhere. However Spain doesn’t make that easy for you either. I believe our political state of flux hasn’t helped and other EU countries are currently cheaper on their cost of living. But if you want to employ a non-EU worker, that’s another ball game altogether. 

I will try to explain. In order to hire non-EU employees with a temporary work visa, you must publish the job offer in the autonomic public portal SOIB (the Balearic job Seekers Service) and it must be published for approximately one month. 

If there are no Spanish/European workers interested in the job offer, SOIB sends an official document stating that no one has applied and those jobs are then on the list of hard-to-hire professionals. Without this document, the Immigration Department will not grant a visa to any worker coming from outside the European Community. 

If and when you do find a non-European person for a particular job, see how long it takes to then get that visa. The problem? Lack of staff to process them, you couldn’t make it up!

From a UK workers point of view the problem is just as bad. Bars, restaurants, cafes and clubs used to rely on seasonal workers for the summer. But since Brexit the UK has become persona non grata like any other non-EU country. British citizens’ EU citizenship and free movement rights ended when the Brexit transition period expired on the 31st of December 2020. Those rights had enabled them to visit, live, work or study in an EU Member State without needing a visa. I liken Brexit voters to how the authorities are wanting Magaluf to change. They are all forgetting they were young once and are denying the youngsters of today the freedom they enjoyed when they were young. In other words a very small minded and selfish way of looking at life. Will this change? Well there is a push to do so. As the UK is suffering in just the same way in filling job vacancies that used to be taken by EU workers. 

It’s in the hands of our politicians and there my friends is where I’ll leave it because we could like a visa application be waiting a very long time!

Richie is the MD at Pirates, the islands number one night out featuring Adventure, Reloaded and Gringos.

Follow him on Twitter @DadTaxi1 & Instagram @dad.taxi or feel free to email him at rprior@globobalear.com 

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