Biel Barceló earlier today defended his trip to the Dominican Republic.

13-12-2017Miquel À. Cañellas

Vice-president and tourism minister Biel Barceló resigned yesterday evening because of a scandal surrounding a recent trip to the Dominican Republic paid for by a private tourism company.

According to Barceló, the trip to Punta Cana was with the television sports programme Fora de Joc. Barceló has been a contributor to this programme for ten years, although he didn't participate in the edition filmed in the Dominican Republic.

The storm over the trip arose because it clashed with an important parliamentary debate, which he therefore missed, and - more importantly - because it was paid for by Globalia. The accommodation was at a Globalia Be Live hotel, and the flight was with Air Europa, which is also part of the Globalia group.

Barceló acknowledged yesterday that he had misjudged his actions. He stressed, however, that he had gone in a private capacity along with others who have contributed to the programme. He explained that he did not go in his role as vice-president of the Balearics. He was invited by the programme's director and emphasised that there was "no direct or indirect relationship with any company".

But while Barceló had been offering assurances earlier yesterday about "correcting the situation", his party, Més, met to consider his position and his future. The likely presidential candidate for Més in 2019, Fina Santiago, had already described the trip as "indefensible".

Barceló stood accused of potentially having violated the party’s ethical code on gifts and conflicts of interest and indeed the government’s code. A meeting that had been scheduled today between the government parties (PSOE and Més) and Podemos was postponed at the request of Més.

President Armengol appeared to agree with Santiago that the trip had been indefensible, while the leaders of the Partido Popular and Ciudadanos - Biel Company and Xavier Pericay - both demanded that Barceló should resign. Some of the harshest criticism came from Podemos. The party called on Armengol to sack Barceló. He had, in the opinion of Podemos, shown a lack of responsibility which has stained the government’s image.

Podemos, which abstained in a recent vote of censure against Barceló over the Més contracts affair, issued a statement saying that there could be no more excuses or justifications. "We set the bar very high against corruption, and we cannot allow something like this if we want a credible government that doesn’t repeat what has happened in the past."

In the end, he decided to step down, and it would seem that his own party was persuasive in getting this decision.

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Pollensa1946 / Hace 4 months

"Greg / Hace 1 day All the self interested bigots who rent out apartments and make housing unaffordable for locals will all be our celebrating. Shame on you self interested idiots."

Is this a weak attempt at irony, or do you actually believe this rubbish?

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John Reeves / Hace 4 months

The arguments about rentals/immigrants/tourist tax etc all seem to me to miss the point. Mallorca will never be anything but a major tourist destination as there are too many structural barriers to setting up business here. Tourism should therefore be the only focus and the new minister must look at how Mallorca can capitalise on its natural assets. First, I would look at the season - why is it only 30 weeks? This island needs 52 weeks of solid travel, so airlines, hotels, airport etc need to get this one sorted. Then look at the attractions - biking, hiking, swimming, boating, beaches, food, culture. Set up initiatives to max out the quality and quantity of each of these sub-industries. Only when these are resolved and marketing plans put in place do you look at rentals and tourist saturation. It is quite easy to adjust levels by using price and licences etc. Hotels should all be aiming at better facilities, which equals higher rates and they do not then have to compete with rentals. The rental sector also needs to set some standards of suitability, safety, quality etc. What an opportunity! Unfortunately, politicians the world over seem to be the less talented but greedy individuals in society who migrate towards an easy life.

+22-

Jason / Hace 4 months

Richard....Simple small businesses like mine that has been successful for 17 years can't survive, resorts need rentals since all inclusive became the norm I watched bars and restaurants close around me the last couple of years the empty units are reopening due to rentals.

+20-

Mike 432 / Hace 4 months

Mr Pearson. That was probably before the all inclusive hotels got a hold In the days when more hotel guests went out for at least one meal and some drinks . The rental sector has helped replace some income lost to AI surely.

+23-

Richard Pearson / Hace 4 months

Mr Riches, what has that got to do with short term rentals ? The Balearic Islands were just as successful, I would hazard even more successful, before this new rental “industry” even existed.

+-7-

Richard Pearson / Hace 4 months

Jason, and if the person who takes his place is even more virulently against touristic rentals, a distinct possibility, what then ?

+-10-

Richard Pearson / Hace 4 months

Peter, before I answer your post, could you specify what you mean by “immigrants” please.

+-8-

Steve Riches / Hace 4 months

Richard Pearson (below) - over 60% of the money in the pockets of local inhabitants is generated by the tourists who come to Mallorca. Other than Manacor Pearls and a bit of leatherwork and potatoes from Sa Pobla would you please enlighten me as to major foreign currency-earning ventures on the island?

+14-

Jason / Hace 4 months

Yes yes yes best Christmas present ever, now let's get someone with some sense for a tourist minister that is on the side of tourist and the services that rely on tourists in the resorts and just focused on Palma. The inspectors on holiday rentals could still inspect but to issue licences instead of fines !

+21-

Peter / Hace 4 months

@greg and Richard Pearson. There's plenty of accommodation for the islands natural inhabitants, but like the UK, amongst other places, they'll never be enough accommodation for the vast amount of immigrants that come here. Neither will there ever be enough work for them all. This has nothing whatsoever to do with holiday rentals, which the inhabitants need to add to the diversity of tourists and increase the island's income. Do you suggest that holiday rentals should be banned just so that more immigrants can come and look for work, if you take a look around you'll see that there's a saturation of immigrants to the island, rather than a satiration of tourists, - again, just like the UK.

+12-