Formentera in Spain's Balearic Islands to remain an exclusive destination


By AGENCY

This island in Spain is restricting vehicle access to limit overtourism. — AFP

In the Balearic Islands in Spain, the small island of Formentera, just an hour’s boat ride from Ibiza, is one of those paradise locations that’s still untouched by mass tourism. Mostly frequented by designers, artists and vacationers with big budgets, this Mediterranean destination is keen to avoid the mass influx of tourists during the summer months, as seen on the neighbouring islands of Ibiza and Mallorca.

To achieve this, the local authority limits the number of vehicles allowed on the island and its roads.

For several years, Formentera has been committed to promoting a more responsible form of tourism – as demonstrated by the plan launched a few years ago by the local government to encourage the purchase and rental of electric cars. Moreover, Formentera has implemented the Formentera.eco programme, which directly targets motorists, granting entry only to vehicles with prior authorisation.

These regulations only apply from June 1 to Sept 30, during the peak tourist season. Even local residents are required to have a permit to drive on the island’s roads during this time. As far as tourists are concerned, it’s not possible to rent a car in Ibiza and take it by boat to Formentera.

Only vehicles rented locally are allowed on the roads. And while motorcycles are allowed, quad bikes, motorhomes and caravans are not.

In any case, unauthorised camping is forbidden on the island, and there is no campground for pitching a tent.

Plus, there’s no point in hoping to slip through the cracks, as cameras installed on Formentera’s roads can spot motorists in breach of the law. Infringements can cost between €1,000 (RM5,106) and €10,000 (RM51,068).

By capping the number of cars allowed to enter the island, the local government also has the means to introduce an entry tax. Indeed, authorised access does not come free. One car costs €6 (RM30.60) per day, with a minimum charge of €30 (RM153) in June and September. This rises to €9 (RM46) per day and a minimum of €45 (RM230) in July and August. Electric vehicles are exempt from this tax, while hybrids benefit from a 50% reduction.

The Consell Insular de Formentera has been applying these regulations since 2019. There is also a limit on the number of approvals granted. In 2023 the number of motor vehicles that could be brought to the island and driven and parked on public roads was capped at 10,458, a 16% reduction compared to 2022. – AFP Relaxnews

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