Palma's mayor, Antoni Noguera, has held his first official meeting with fellow member of Més, tourism minister Biel Barceló, since he took office at the end of last month.
Noguera raised the grievance that the town hall had regarding distribution of last year's tourist tax revenue. Projects to the value of 14 million euros had been presented; none of them were ratified.
When still a deputy mayor, Noguera had received some qualified support from Barceló for his call for a ban on holiday rentals in Palma. The now ex-mayor, José Hila, took issue with Noguera on this, but the possibility of a ban has become more likely since Podemos started making noises about the need for "emergency housing" measures in Palma. Podemos want a declaration of this to be included in the holiday rentals' legislation, but Barceló yesterday described the proposal as "absurd". He noted that the legislation will give the town hall the scope to zone rentals, which might even mean not having them at all, i.e. a ban.
Barceló explained that the legislation will stipulate that tourist establishments will only be able to create new places if they withdraw a similar number. Noguera said that this measure will be a key one for regulating tourism in the city. The minister also drew attention to a requirement for holiday rental websites to carry an official registration licence number issued by the tourism ministry. If any property is advertised without one, it will be assumed to be illegal. Fines for websites could be as high as 400,000 euros.
Noguera said that it was important to attack the "speculative economy" that is driving holiday rentals and which "is causing very negative effects". The town hall in Palma, he observed, has to be the body that deals with this problem in the city. "We are the ones who best know about the problem, and the law has to give us the tools to tackle it."
A further matter for discussion was drunkenness among tourists. Noguera and Barceló agreed that drunken tourism in Playa de Palma has to be eliminated. "We reject any business activity that promotes tourist drunkenness. We need to act together in putting an end to something which is conveying a very negative image."
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