An avalanche, a flood, words used by environmentalists Terraferida in blaming the upcoming holiday rentals' legislation for a significant increase in the number of tourist accommodation places in Majorca. The organisation says that at present over 50,000 new places are being processed, which equate to a 15% increase on the existing number of over 333,000. Of these 50,000, almost 80% of them are for holiday rental accommodation.
In the first four months of this year, Terraferida point out that 26 licences for hotel accommodation of different types (which include agrotourism and interior hotels as well as any resort establishments) were being processed. These were for 1,484 places. There were also 1,569 licences for holiday rental, with over 10,000 places.
From various other statistics that Terraferida have provided, the basic message is that so far this year more licences have been processed than in the whole of 2015, while last year the number was twice the 2015 figure.
With the legislation yet to be implemented, the procedure for registering a holiday rental property, which means the likes of villas and not apartments, is relatively straightforward. It requires the declaration of tourist activity responsibility, something that applies to various other tourist services. It isn't expensive. It isn't subject to a five-year (with the possibility of renewal) limit, which will be the case once the legislation comes in. Nor is it subject to other stipulations that will be in the legislation.
The tourism ministry has recognised that there has been a major increase in the number of requests. It has had to take on additional personnel to deal with them. The director-general of tourism, Pilar Carbonell, has said that she doesn't believe that these will all be taken up. Some licences are being sought "just in case".
Terraferida, though, are clear in arguing that anticipation of the legislation is to blame for the increase, as also is the absence of any "moratorium". Only once the legislation is in force will there be a halt, and that's because the Council of Majorca and town halls will have eight months to determine the zones for holiday rentals.
The organisation says that the situation has nothing to do with the existing tourism law (that of the Partido Popular from 2012). It has everything to do with the government's failure to impose a moratorium ahead of the legislation, thereby offering "a de facto amnesty". It adds that Biel Barceló, when he was visiting towns to explain the legislation, was encouraging people to process licences.
Terraferida also note that the 50,000 new places exceed the 43,000 or so that are supposedly the ceiling once the legislation is in place. The current government, they conclude, "will go down in history for having allowed the largest increase in the number of tourist places, and in only two years".
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