So far, so near

The first tourists who came to Mallorca in waves in the ‘60s left behind them an exploratory mark and something candid, distinguished and respectful of what was already starting to become the fashionable island of the Mediterranean.

The 1960s in Mallorca will always be remembered for the appearance of the first hippie hairstyles, mini-skirts, the Seat 600, Beatlemania and dancing the twist at parties. But above all for the arrival of thousands of Spanish and foreign tourists at a time when travel ceased to be a privilege for the rich alone, and new social phenomena whetted the appetite of the masses for discovering the world and fulfilling the dream of spending a holiday by the sea. 

The island that had been discovered long before by aristocrats, artists and magnates en petit comité now turned overnight into the fashionable holiday destination of Europe and the world, competing head-to-head with the French Côte d’Azur and the Italian Riviera.

A few years earlier, in 1946, the Honeymoon in Mallorca advertising campaign had been a great success, attracting hundreds of Spanish newlyweds who stayed at those first hotels where all the staff, from the manager down to the bellboy, made them feel part of the family, and in many cases they continued to correspond with them over time. 

The land use law of 1956 kicked off a frenzied urbanisation and tourist construction activity in Spain and the Balearic Islands (Playa de Palma is the clearest example of this today). Thus, in 1960, Menorca would welcome its first 8,000 tourists, Ibiza 31,000 and Mallorca 361,000, of whom 313,000 were foreign and just 87,000 from Spain.

The first tourism crises on the islands which followed (originating from the oil crisis between 1974 and 1977, and from the bankruptcy of several British tour operators in 1980), never really endangered the cash cow, the big business of tourism in Mallorca which brought nearly 12 million visitors to the island last year.    

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