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‘We pay dearly’: Menorcan town fed up with tourists has introduced visiting hours

Tourists regularly enter into homes, steal belongings and climb up balconies.
Tourists regularly enter into homes, steal belongings and climb up balconies. Copyright Left to right: Thomas Delacrétaz, Pelayo Arbués, Marco De Hevia
Copyright Left to right: Thomas Delacrétaz, Pelayo Arbués, Marco De Hevia
By Rebecca Ann Hughes
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Tourists regularly enter into homes, steal belongings and climb up balconies.

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With low-whitewashed buildings, narrow stone alleyways and labyrinthine staircases, the town Binibeca Vell is nicknamed the Mykonos of Menorca.

But there’s another characteristic the Balearic town shares with the Greek hotspot: out-of-control visitor numbers.

Fed up with the crowds of tourists crammed into the 1,000-resident-strong coastal village, the local house owners’ association has imposed new visitor regulations.

Here’s what you need to know if you plan on visiting Binibeca Vell this summer.

Binibeca Vell introduces visiting hours

Binibeca Vell, near the southern tip of the island of Menorca, sees more than 800,000 tourists visiting each year eager to snap pictures of the quaint town - actually a 1960s replica of an authentic fishing village.

For residents, this means dealing with noise disruption, intrusive behaviour and rubbish covering the streets.

“[Tourists] went into homes, they sat on chairs, they take things, climb on our walls, they have outdoor drinking parties,” one resident told news website ElDiario.es last month. “If this isn’t regulated, it will happen every summer.”

The organisation that represents Binibeca Vell’s 195 homeowners does not directly blame tourists, however.

Instead, they see it as the fault of authorities who have failed to impose regulations to ensure the well-being of residents.

Binibeca is described as a “private property condominium” on its website and the homeowners’ association is keen to make it clear it is a residential development.

As such, the group has taken matters into their own hands and imposed a visiting schedule.

Since the beginning of May, it has asked that people only visit between the hours of 11am and 8pm.

The village’s website also asks tourists to refrain from “entering homes” and “climbing balconies.”

Binibeca Bell threatens to close to tourists

Beyond visiting hours, the village has suggested it might close completely to tourism if the disruptive behaviour continues.

Óscar Monge, the president of the homeowners’ association, has said residents will vote in August on the definitive closure of the complex to visitors if officials continue to ignore the situation.

According to local news site Majorca Daily Bulletin, the Council of Menorca and Sant Lluís Town Council provide just over €25,000 annually to residents to fund the maintenance of their houses and ensure the village’s picture-postcard appearance.

“We have been a private urbanisation for 52 years, but it is becoming increasingly difficult for us to enjoy a quiet holiday, as we pay dearly for being the most popular tourist attraction in Menorca,” Monge told local press.

“Binibeca is promoted by the administration and tourism companies, but what benefit do we get out of it,” he asked.

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