A study of the UNESCO – Sa Nostra Chair at the UIB quantifies the value of the Majorcan beaches services

UNESCO – Sa Nostra Chair at the UIB A study carried out by the UNESCO – Sa Nostra Chair of the University of the Balearic Islands (UIB) for company management and Environment, attached to the Economic Research Center (UIB – Sa Nostra), has measured in monetary units the recreational services, despite not being traded in the market, Majorcan beaches provide to the tourists visiting the island. The research team, knowing the affluence levels to each of the 73 beaches object of this study, as well as the attributes that characterize them, has estimated the value of recreational tourism use of the beaches of Mallorca during August. In other words, has quantified monetarily the satisfaction and well-being the tourists obtain when they enjoy the recreational services provided by the beaches.

The attributes most valued by tourists

The study has identified the attributes that positively influence the welfare of tourists, including:

  • the beach is recognized with Blue Flag
  • the beach is located in a natural, forestry or agricultural landscape
  • the beach has tree cover and plants

Instead, tourists negatively valued proximity to urban areas and the high level of congestion.


The beach of Alcudia, the beach of Palma and the beach of Santa Ponsa provide during August recreational services for a total amount of 20.19 million EUR

The analysis of this information reveals that the beaches with the highest number of visitors are the beach of Alcudia, with an average of 13,208 users per day, the beach of Palma, with 11,056 users per day, and the beach of Santa Ponsa, with 5,054 users per day.

Results showed a tourist visiting the island of Mallorca gets a daily well-being equivalent to 1,18 euros for enjoying the beach of Alcudia, 1,02 euros for swimming and sunbathing on the beach of Palma, and 0,93 euros to visit the beach of Santa Ponsa.

So, considering the tourists visiting the island of Mallorca during August 2010 (1.355.241 tourists) and the average number of days that went to the beach (5 days), we can conclude that these three beaches provided during August recreational services for a total amount of 20.19 million EUR.

Name of the beach

Well-being per tourist per day

Aggregate well-being*

1. Beach of Alcudia

2. Beach of Palma

3. Beach of Santa Ponsa

1,18 EUR

1,02 EUR

0,93 EUR

7,62 million EUR

6,59 million EUR

5,98 million EUR

*Monetary values referring August 2010.


To close 10 beaches in Calvia during August would cause to tourists a loss of well-being estimated in 30.67 million EUR

The study allows calculating the loss of well-being resulting from the simultaneous closure of several beaches in the same area affected by a plague, a spill or fire preventing tourist use. As an example, simultaneous closure of 10 beaches in Calvia (see table below) for a day of August would cause to tourists a loss of well-being of 4.77 euros for each tourist. This amount rises up to 30.67 million EUR if we take into account the total number of tourists visiting the island on August and the average number of days they go to the beach.

Name of the beach

Well-being per tourist per day

Aggregate well-being*

1. Beach of Portals Nous

2. Beach of es Carregador (Palmanova)

3. Beach of Cala Blanca (Palmanova)

4. Beach of Son Maties (Palmanova)

5. Beach of Magaluf

6. Beach of Santa Ponça

7. Beach of la Romana (Peguera)

8. Beach of Torà (Peguera)

9. Beach of Palmira (Peguera)

10. Beach of Cala Fornells (Peguera)

0,38 EUR

0,25 EUR

0,18 EUR

0,42 EUR

0,84 EUR

0,93 EUR

0,24 EUR

0,16 EUR

0,48 EUR

0,17 EUR

2,44 million EUR

1,66 million EUR

1,19 million EUR

2,70 million EUR

5,40 million EUR

5,98 million EUR

1,51 million EUR

1,05 million EUR

3,08 million EUR

1,07 million EUR

* Monetary values referring August 2010.


The economists Antoni Riera, Àngel Bujosa and Catalina Torres, heads of the research team

The study, designed and conducted by Dr. Antoni Riera, director of the CRE, and Drs Àngel Bujosa and Catalina Torres, co-directors of the Chair, has been performed on the basis of the well-known travel cost methodology, which has impeded to include valuation of the recreational services for residents, and others values of use ??and non-use that conform the total economic value of these ecosystems.

In this regard, during the August 2010 researchers conducted 856 interviews to tourists from different nationalities, in an attempt to understand the attendance patterns of tourists in the surroundings of 73 Majorcan beaches.

Among other things, they considered the beaches visited by tourists during their stay, means of transport used, location and type of accommodation chosen and the main socioeconomic characteristics of respondents.


The Department of Earth Sciences of the UIB has provided environmental, physical, infrastructural, and accessibility information

In collaboration with Dr. Mauricio Ruiz, Dr. Miquel Grimalt and Dr. Joana Maria Petrus from the Department of Earth Sciences at the UIB, researchers compiled a database that includes, among others, issues related to congestion levels, physical and environmental characteristics (size, vegetation and landscape, presence of dunes and protected areas, etc.), infrastructure (showers, baths, hammocks, bar, etc.) and conditions of accessibility  (parking, public transport connection, etc.) for each of the 73 beaches considered.

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Proyecto financiado por el Ministerio de Educación, Cultura y Deporte en el marco del Programa Campus de Excelencia Internacional

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