Locals set up fake beach signs to drive tourists away in Majorca

  • 22.08.2023 07:53
  • Bruno Arcos

Tourists in Majorca are facing a rather unique challenge this Summer, as a series of fake warning signs have sprung up across the island. Purposefully put up by a local group called Manacor Caterva, these fake signs aim to dissuade tourists from overcrowding the island’s most popular beaches.

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In a clever prank, the signs display false information to tourists in English, while a small inscription in Catalan tells a different story. Some signs warn of jellyfish infestations, danger of cliff falls and sewage contamination, while others exaggerate walking distances to discourage beachgoers, claiming a near three-hour hike to a beach that is just 90 meters away.

Taking the first example given above, and under an illustration depicting a swimmer surrounded by jellyfish, the Catalan text reads: “Open beach. Not to jellyfish or foreigners”. Another sign, apparently concerning a rockfall hazard, ironically attributes the real danger to overcrowding rather than landslides.

According to The Independent, Manacor Caterva, an activist group advocating against overtourism, has taken credit for the antics, with the group sharing images of their work on Twitter while highlighting their campaign against the “usurpation of the coves”. Furthermore, the group’s statement also delves into economic satire, using humor to assert that capitalism’s pursuit of profit through tourism has led to the exploitation of local land and labor. While Manacor Caterva’s efforts have sparked reactions online, some social media users have joined in by creating their own “beach closed” signs.

Majorca, the largest of Spain’s Balearic Islands, has a local population of around 876.000, half of which reside in the capital, Palma de Mallorca. With an annual influx of approximately 14 million visitors, mostly from Germany and England, Mallorca is heavily reliant on tourism money, which accounts for roughly 75 percent of its GDP and helps explain the ongoing struggle.

Now that social media has tipped off tourists of the “fake signs”, the unprecedented campaign stands as yet another episode in the ever-present battle between economic growth (through tourism) and the preservation of the local way of life.

Image Credits: Manacor Caterva

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