The president of Cala Millor hoteliers, Inés Batle, brought down the curtain on the tourist season this week by closing Hotel Morito. The hotel company took stock in the 2023 season and explained the importance of the Life AdaptCalaMillor project for the sector. And this Levante tourist area is the setting chosen to promote a pilot test of adaptation to climate change. With a total investment of around 2.3 million euros (1.3 contributed by the European Union), the pilot project seeks to preserve Cala Millor as a sun and beach destination. Batle is clear that LifeAdapt will become a tourist attraction because it is the first destination to do a pioneering project to adapt to climate change. This is what they will promote at tourist fairs.
This week the Cala Millor hotel is closed, what is your assessment of the weather?
We strike a fine balance. It is true that there were establishments that struggled at the beginning of May and June but when the high season arrived, the balance of the summer was good. Of course, we still have the same problems as last year with staff and price increases due to inflation due to the war in Ukraine and now we see what effect this has on the conflict with Israel. And all geopolitical situations affect us.
“Being the first with something as important as ‘LifeAdapt’ is a challenge”
The staffing problem continues…
There is one issue that we admit has to do with mobility. The reality of public transportation that is more adapted to the needs of residents and our workers is needed, not so much for tourists. The claim is for residents and workers, who do not have the capacity to rent something in Cala Millor because the rental has become vacation rentals, but they can rent in other neighboring towns, but many of us have to adjust our work schedules. In tourism it is 24 hours from Monday to Sunday. However, on Sundays, public transportation schedules change. For this reason, the other day from the two hotel associations in Cala Millorsa Coma and Capdepera we requested the Levante Train above all for our internal movement. Actually, you cannot go directly from Son Servera to Artà. There is no meaning without internal movement. People often think about moving to Palma, which is also admitted, but moving between cities in Levante is important.
“In the storms we have had, the Cala Millor beach has lost an average of thirteen meters in width”
Being in the Levante area always means having a double insularity…
For this reason we joined forces with the hotel association of Capdepera to claim double insularity. Clients visiting the island in October or November prefer destinations closer to Palma. Last Sunday we flooded Cala Millor and five years ago in Torrentada we had Levante without infrastructure. It was a tragedy. Infrastructure is very necessary, which is why we are not only asking for the train, we are also asking for proper roads and streams. It doesn’t matter the political color of the Government.
And speaking of storms and floods, Cala Millor is a pioneer in the Life Adapt project as a model for adapting to climate change…
This project means that the entire tourist destination must lower the business of the issue of circularity and sustainability so that it is a destination that is compatible with climate change because it is useless for you to have a beach with project to adapt to climate change when others do not think they should take their actions.
“We need a public transport reality that is more adapted to the needs of the residents”
How does each hurricane affect the coast?
With the storms we have and climate change, the Cala Millor beach has lost thirteen meters of width. In winter the width of the beach decreases but the recovery in summer is lost, we are on average thirteen meters shorter. Each time the width of the beach is shorter. In the LifeAdaptCalaMillor project there is a scientific part that studies the reasons and why the sand is not recovered, which is located but does not rise back to the beach, that is, it is not recovered at the rate it was recovered before. Recovered at a slower pace. Once the researchers are clear about the reasons that explain these changes, the technical side of engineering and architecture will come to try to recover the sand with natural solutions, for example, maybe the changes -or must be done on the promenade or we must. contribute to more plants. This is what must be determined during these four years in a project that will be executive to make the changes necessary so that Cala Millor beach can better adapt to the effects of climate change. Maybe we have to give up the urban space to give it to the natural space but until we have the conclusions of the project, we don’t know.
“This project is our reason to keep our establishments in good condition”
And similarly, the City Councils of Sant Llorenç and Son Servera implement their projects?
The City Councils have already done various projects, for example, we know that the storm water that is on every road every time it rains will completely affect the beach, therefore, the storm water has been diverted so that it flows to in the sea but that. not all roads lead to the beach. There is also a master plan to reuse recycled water. The treatment plant has a lot of salinity and a project is being developed in this regard. The hotel association collaborates with the Sant Llorenç Water Cycle department. In November, the construction of an urban drainage system will begin. Not only the LifeAdapt project, it is that if we ourselves do not work in this sense, we have the coast to adapt to climate change but we do not have solutions for ourselves.
Why was Cala Millor chosen as a model to adapt to climate change?
Because there are many advanced studies. The beach of Cala Millor has been monitored for studies for more than 20 years. Since 1989, there have been studies carried out on the beach of Cala Millor about the problem of sand. It is the third most watched beach in the world.
The private sector and public sector agreed on this project…
Yes, we work together and the synergies that occur improve society. We live in an individualistic society and we need to change the chip. You have to lose a little to gain a lot. We must be generous. Also, as entrepreneurs, the coast is our main asset. The photo of the beach is what makes a tourist decide to choose a destination or another because we have beautiful hotels all over the world. If we see a problem, we have to deal with it. Climate change gives us many fears. The project started on January 1 but we have been working on it for two years to present it in Europe. Now the work and research is done to get the results in four years. Work is also being done at the societal level to find out how citizens perceive climate change. These years we need to raise people’s awareness because it is difficult to change the chip once we get the results of the project.
As an engineer, what do you think would be the focus of the possible solutions?
In natural solutions. Take down the concrete wall we have, put the promenade back so the beach can get some space…
And it is clear that in order to implement these measures, the task of raising awareness and educating citizens is essential.
Exactly because later it will become the best beach and become a tourist attraction. In fact, for us the LifeAdapt project is a tourist attraction. I believe that the work of these four years is not only for Cala Millor but for other urban beaches in the Balearic Islands. We are the first. We will implement the procedure to be followed to achieve a climate change project. Being a pioneer has its good and bad. It may cost us more but it may also happen that because we are the first we have more help. We have a lot of responsibility to raise awareness in our sector.
As a hotelier and as an engineer, what inspires you the most about LifeAdaptCalaMillor?
First of all, this is a project in nature and these topics have always fascinated me. It is also an environmental project that involves the whole society. Being the first for such an important thing is a challenge. For hoteliers, this project is our reason to keep our establishments in good condition. What happened is that people do not give importance to what will happen in 50 years. It does not assimilate. They believe there are more left. We need to change the chip and stop talking about 2050 or 2100 because the emergency and urgency is now. Perspectives on the needs of today’s climate change issue. LifeAdapt is what leads us to integrate our movement.