Deputy mayor of Palma de Majorca, Alvaro Gijón said plans were being made to replace the drunk Germans with wealthy tourists from places like China and Dubai.
“In the next five to six years we will turn around the image of Playa de Palma 180 degrees,” he told the Bild tabloid newspaper. “Ballermann will no longer exist in its current form.”
He said many of the hotels would be renovated to achieve four- or five-star status, while new, fancier restaurants and sports facilities were also in the pipeline.
The aim was to imitate holiday destinations such as St Tropez in France, or Las Vegas in the US, in an attempt to woo wealthier visitors. “We’re planning a tourist casino where people will play for thousands.”
“We want people who are going to spend a lot of money,” said Gijón. He said drinking on the beach was old fashioned – referring to the tradition of Germans boozing themselves silly with straws from buckets of sangria while lying about on sunloungers.
“If people want to get drunk, they should do it in the discos, not on the beach in public,” he said.
A ban on drinking in public imposed in the area between 10pm and 1am was introduced this season, and should be seen as a shot across the bows to the kind of boozy tourists who usually flock to the Ballermann beaches.
“There are other places in the world for them,” Gijón told the paper.
More than half a million tourists go on holiday to the Playa de Palma each year, filling the 250 hotels in the immediate area by the beach. There is a stretch of bars, discos and restaurants many of which cater specifically to Germans – with names such as Oberbayern, Bierkönig and Mega-Park.
But Gijón said he wants a higher class of visitor – and was confident that some of the new, classier guests would also be German.
“I am sure that other German tourists will come to our new beach,” he said.