The Business Year

Alfonso Rodrí­guez Badal

SPAIN - Tourism

Alfonso Rodrí­guez Badal

Mayor, Calviá

Bio

Alfonso Rodríguez Badal has been Mayor of Calvià since 2015, having been re-elected in 2019. He has been President of the Tourism Commission of the Spanish Federation of Municipalities and Provinces (FEMP) since 2019. He is a graduate in Hispanic philology from the University of Zaragoza and began his professional career as a secondary education teacher at IES Ferran Casablancas Secondary School in Sabadell. He later continued his career at IES Maria Antònia Salvà in Llucmajor, after which he joined the team at IES Calvià in Santa Ponça, where he held management positions for five years and taught until the 2014- 2015 academic year. Since 2012, he has been secretary general of the Socialist Group of Calvià and, since 2021, the spokesperson for the PSIBPSOE.

Calvià wants to show tourists not only its beautiful natural sights, but also its modern hotel infrastructure, high-quality services, and unique experiences.

What is the relevance of Calvià in Mallorca in terms of key aspects such as tourism?

Calvià is the quintessential tourist town on the Balearic Islands. Despite being a municipality with a population of over 50,000 people, Calvià is home to over 60,000 hotel beds in some major tourist locations: Peguera, greatly influenced by the German market; Santa Ponça, with a varied market but heavily connected to British tourists; Palma Nova Magaluf; Portals; and Illetas. Calvià has great potential regarding tourism, taking into account that in the pre-pandemic years, it was able to attract 1.5 million tourists and over 9 million overnight stays in 2019. The strength of Calvià lies in its beaches and sunshine. We have over 30 beaches of various features, and 15 of them hold Q quality. We are the Spanish municipality with the largest number of beaches recognized with Q quality.

What is your assessment on the recovery of tourism in Calvià beyond traditional indicators and focusing more on tourism as a social-impact activity?

Calvià’s economy went from 100 to 0 overnight. The service sector, hospitality, and tourism employ around 80-85% of the citizens in Calvià, directly or indirectly. Calvià focused on two strategies aimed first and foremost at saving lives, and then looked for ways to revive the economy. In the municipality, we focused mostly on providing social care to the people suffering the most. In 2020, we increased by six-fold the assistance we refer to as “basic necessity aid” aimed at helping with food and housing costs. Unanimously, in 2020 we allocated over EUR10 million to the recovery of Calvià. In a municipality such as ours, the total budget is around EUR100 million, and allocating EUR10 million of that to face the difficulties of the productive sector was a wise choice. Calvià was the tourist destination with the highest occupancy rate in 2021 with respect to the total number of available beds, allowing us to preserve a large share of the social impact of tourism on our people. We were prepared to receive the first stages of recovery 2021, and we are now prepared to receive the full recovery.

How is Calvià rethinking its tourism industry to make it more dynamic and diverse throughout the entire year?

A top tourist destination should offer the quality the tourists require as well as the experiences they seek. Calvià has been working to create tourist products and experiences that make our destination more desired and enjoyable. Sports is a tourism product that, aside from the sun and beaches, can open more possibilities, especially if we want to extend the tourism season. In 2022, we are dedicating over EUR800,000 to the promotion of sporting events, placing us as a municipality that can welcome large sporting events. These will have a direct impact on overnight stays in touristic infrastructures as well as an indirect impact on the creation of a destination brand. In 2021, we were fortunate to host a golf tournament, one of the three major tournaments in Spain for the PGA circuit. 

How is Calvià working to have its tourism industry embrace sustainability on different fronts?

Calvià accelerated our efforts on this front in 2015, and our vision implies an adaptation of Calvià’s territorial plan, resulting in a municipality with contained and sustainable growth, correctly analyzing where growth should be and where it should be limited, and establishing the type of growth needed. Through this approach, we declassified thousands of square meters to direct the spotlight to a protected Great Calvià, to the interior Gran Calvià. Over 70% of our municipality has some degree of protection, which is why the territorial aspect is extremely important. For some years now, we have been convinced that one of the quality aspects of the destination brand should be the commitment of said destination to the sustainability of the territory that welcomes the tourist. Through an environmental consciousness, Calvià is making investments to commit to the ongoing ecological transformation

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