Tourism as driver of urbanization and land change in Mallorca, Balearic islands

The island of Mallorca is the main Balearic resort and mass tourism has left its mark on the coastline landscape and contributes to the depletion of the island’s scarce water resources. Since the mid 1990s, the extension of the tourist base to so-called "quality tourism" proliferates low-density residential tourist land uses (second homes) that spread around former mass tourist urban cores. Further increases in land and water consumption are direct consequences of this development.

Identification of land use conflicts and biodiversity threats: Habitat suitability mapping, land change modelling and biotope assessment are combined to determine the quantity and spatial distribution of potential land use conflicts and to assess the biodiversity threats caused by potential land use changes.

Geographies of water consumption: Our research shows that residential water consumption per capita is considerably higher where second homes are concentrated. In these quality tourist areas, up to 76% of residential water is used outdoors to maintain gardens and swimming pools. This type of urban development is a determinant of future increases in water demand if climate change leads to the projected changes in temperature.


Hof, A., & Wolf, N. (2014). Estimating potential outdoor water consumption in private urban landscapes by coupling high-resolution image analysis, irrigation water needs and evaporation estimation in Spain. Landscape and Urban Planning, 123(0), 61–72. doi:10.1016/j.landurbplan.2013.12.010

Hof, A. & Blázquez-Salom, M. (2013): The linkages between real estate tourism and urban sprawl in Majorca (Balearic Islands, Spain). In: Land 2, 252-277. doi:10.3390/land2020252, Online verfügbar unter

Hof, A.; Blázquez, M. (2012): Destination Management in a Time of Climate Change and Systemic Crisis – the Case of Majorca, Balearic Islands. In: Andreas Kagermeier und Jarkko Saarinen (Hg.): Transforming and managing destinations. Tourism and leisure in a time of global change and risks. Mannheim: MetaGIS (Studien zur Freizeit- und Tourismusforschung, 7), S. 17–25. ISBN: 978-3-936438-41-3 Online: [pdf]

Hof, A. & Schmitt, T. (2011): Urban and tourist land use patterns and water consumption: evidence from Mallorca, Balearic islands. Land Use Policy 28 (4): 792–804. Online:

Hof, A., Mörtl, B. and Schmitt, T. (2010): GIS-gestützte Landschafts-strukturanalyse der Auswirkungen des Flächenverbrauchs in der Gemeinde Calvià, Mallorca. In: Strobl, J. Blaschke, T. & Griesebner, G. (Hrsg.): Angewandte Geoinformatik 2010, Beiträge zum 22. AGIT-Symposium Salzburg, Wichmann, Berlin, S. 622-631.

Hof, A. and Schmitt, T. (2008): Flächenverbrauch durch Qualitätstourismus auf Mallorca – Analyse und Bewertung im Kontext der Entwicklungsziele der Calvià Agenda Local 21. Europa Regional 16 (4): 167-177.

Master theses:

Elisa Michel (2011): GIS-gestützte Habitat- und Landschaftsstrukturanalyse am Beispiel der maurischen Landschildkröte in der Region Calvià, Mallorca.

Helene Püllen (2009): Die Bedeutung des Qualitätstourismus für den Wasserverbrauch auf Mallorca – eine indikatorengestützte Analyse in der Gemeinde Calvià.

Benjamin Mörtl (2008): Analyse des Landschaftswandels in qualitätstouristischen Zielgebieten in der Gemeinde Calvià/ Mallorca.


Project leaders:
Prof. Dr. Thomas Schmitt
Tel.: +49 234 32-28377

PD Dr. Angela Hof
Tel.: +49 234 32-23375

German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)

Rectorate of Ruhr University Bochum (2009)


Prof. Dr. Macià Blázquez, Earth Science Department, University of the Balearic Islands, Palma de Mallorca, Spain