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Tourist architecture

In the last 50 years Calvià has radically changed.  This change has been due to the turist phenomenon not only in the territory but also its social and demographic structure.

  • Before 1900. The travellers
  • Between 1900 and 1951. The first tourists
  • Between 1951 and 1973. Mass tourism
  • 1973-1979. The crude oil crisis and its consequences
  • 1979-1987. The second tourist boom 
  • 1988-1993. The imbalance between supply and demand
  • 1994-1999. The third tourist boom 

Historical context.

Tradicionally at the moment of analyzing the tourist phenomenon in the Balearic Islands, it is usual to differenciate between the different phases to be followed in order to analyze the development of tourism in Calvià.

Before 1900. The travellers.

During this period the different visitors that visited the islands cannot be classified in the sense of tourists.They should be considered as travellers who came to the Balearic Islands motivated by a sense of adventure, an interest of exploring the world and a society that was different from the one they knew, or even for therapeutic reasons such as the well-known case of Chopin.

During this phase the publication and diffusion of works relating to Majorca contributed to make the island the favourite destination for many travellers, distinguished people, artists and geographers. In this way Majorca started to form part of the European romantic world, attracted by "promitive" and mysterious places.

In 1838 the maritime steamship line Barcelona-Palma was opened, a fact which made the arrival of passengers to Majorca from the mainland and abroad easier. In 1845 the first tourist guide of Palma was published, and during the second half of the century many different works were published, which introduced the whole of Europe to the singular geography, cuture and ethnographics of the Islands. Amongst these works the publication of the Archiduque Lluís Salvador of Austria titled Die Baleares in Wort und Bild Geschildert, should be pointed out.

Between 1900 and 1951. The first tourists.

During this phase the basis were laid for the future tourist development. Overall this period can be divided into two periods:

From 1900 and 1936:
In this period a minor tourism began to develope, it led to the construction of the first luxury hotels such as the  Gran Hotel de Palma, the forming of the first urbanizations like Cala d'Or, Palmanova, Ciudad Jardín etc, and the creation in 1905, of the Majorcan promoting of Tourism ,whose function is to be the human face for receiving tourism, conditioning  the countryside and the accesses to the picturesque places, promoting hotel companies and tourist services and provide publicity on Majorca.

So began the first phase of organized  tourist activities that, in spite of the forced break caused by the First World War, it continued to increase as demonstrated by numerous and succesive opening of hotel establishments that took place during the decades of the 20's and 30's.The first ones were the Hotel Mediterráneo and the Hotel Victoria in Palma and the Hotel Formentor in Pollença. As from 1934 we can also find other hotels such as the Royal, the Cala Mayor, the Solarius, etc...

In any event, it was very different tourism from the one we have nowadays, characterized by being of a high level, long durations, with most of them during the winter months.

The first hotels in the municipal district of Calvià were the Ca´s Català, the Hotel Playas de Peguera (1929) also called  hotel de Cas Ferrer and hotel Malgrat (1932). This hotel infrastructure was completed in 1934 with the division of Palmanova into plots that gave rise to a garden city or the modest urbanization of Peguera

The tourists that then visited the area had a high purchasing power and some of them became residents by buying plots of land.

From 1936 to 1951:
These were difficult years for the island economy and especially for tourism. There were three main characteristics that could define these adversities:

  • The Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) and the postwar caused a collapse in the normal movements of travellers and traders. The economy remained so stagnant that travelling for pleasure was uncommon.
  • The II World War (1940-1945) affected all the European countries, and interupted communications and travelling became difficult and risky, if not almost impossible.
  • The isolation of the Spanish State until 1951. The peculiar characteristics of the political dictatorship wasn't an attractive destination for a Europe where the democratic powers had triumfed. This period is characterized by a minority tourism and for a reduced number of durations, in spite of great efforts,  without ever arriving to the number of stays prior to the Civil War.

Between 1951 and 1973. Mass tourism

Although the key date for the change of the type of tourism and the euphoria is always situated at around 1965, one should go back a little in order to understand the conditions that gave way for the rapid growth of tourism in Majorca and in Calvià.

From 1951 to 1960:
There are different factors to be taken into account during this period that lay the foundations for the future development of mass tourism:

  • In 1951 the UN modified its position as far as the Spanish State was concerned, which meant an international recognition and the opening of relations abroad.
  • In 1959 the Stabilization Plan was drawn up which included, between other measures, an important devaluation of the peseta on the foreign exchange.
  • The economical normalization of western Europe, with an increase in living standards and the spreading of regulated holiday periods, caused an intensive increase in tourism from 1960
  • Together with these exterior factors, the Balearic Islands offered a number of interesting conditions for tourism:
  1. Infrastructures and previous experience in tourism.
  2. Attractive climatic conditions with dry summers and a good temperature.
  3. A living standard that was lower than the European countries of origin.
  4. Easy airport links.
  5. An adequate geographical location at a short distance from the emissary tourist sources.

Definately, the increase in the tourist activity in this period is very high.  Stadistics can give us an idea of this incredible growth: in 1960  400.000 tourists arrived in Majorca, whereas in 1973 the figures reached 3.500.000 and more than 140.000 hotel beds were created.

1973-1979. The oil crises and its consequences

The international crises deriving from the impact of the oil prices in  1974-79 was clearly evident in the tourist demand. In order to fact this problem the workforce was reduced, the workers were transferred to the group of fijos discontinuos and the taking on of temporary staff and overtime was reduced.

1979-1987. The second tourist boom

Between these years what is known as the second tourist boom took place with an increase in demand of 53%. It is a period where salary increases are controlled and an increase in productivity with the installing of new service systems such as buffet meals. It is a period where the growth and the resulting economic profits and invested in the construction of tourist apartments and in hotel investment abroad, especially in the Caribbean, Tunez, Mexico and Turkey.

1988-1993. The imbalance between supply and demand

The tourist demand registered in 1988 a reduction of growth lightly receeding in 1989-1990. The drop in the effective volume of the market demand and the appearance on the market of an excess of supply as a result of the investments iniciated in the last years of the previous phase gave way to a reduction in the selling prices that caused a reduction in the companies profits. These problems coincided with an general economic crisis on a world scale, that didn't favour a recovery of the sector.

1994-1999. The third tourist boom

The way out from the crisis that all Europe suffered from, together with the full integration of the Spanish State in the European Union, and the unstable situation in other tourist destinations such as Egypt, Yugoslavia and Turkay, caused an increase in the demand and an important growth in the sector, centred more on the increase of tourist urbanizations and diversification in additional services than in an increase in the building of hotels.

Main examples of tourist architecture
Most of the tourist architecture in Calvià presents a low historical and aesthetic value. In any event some buildings can be located which have architectural values that deserve a special mention and that are incuded inside the historical heritage of Calvià.

  • Hotel Maricel
  • Hotel de Mar
  • Hotel Punta Negra
  • Balneario Illetes
  • Hotel Bendinat