Legislation plans a reduction in the number of accommodation places. | Archive

The parliamentary processing of the Balearic government's decree law for tourism circularity and sustainability looks set to arrive at a formula for a progressive reduction in the number of tourist accommodation places (beds).

The three parties that form the government - PSOE, Més, Podemos - are understood to have reached an agreement whereby the transfer and exchange mechanism for accommodation places would see the number available reduced by a half.

What happens at present is that if an establishment decides not to use places or ceases activity, the places can be obtained by other establishments. There is a second method, which is to purchase places from what is an official stock that is administered by tourism authorities. These, in the case of hotels, have a value of 3,500 euros each.

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The proposal for this reduction has come from Més; it has the support of both PSOE and Podemos. Més have apparently made this a condition of agreeing to an amendment to the law put forward by one of the opposition parties, El Pi, for the conversion of obsolete hotel stock into VPO social housing or care homes or offices.

As well as hotels, this system of reduction would affect holiday lets, for which the transfer of available places is typically between individuals. The rotation of places for holiday lets is far greater than it is for hotels, and so the proposed measures are likely to affect this sector the most.

The absolute ceiling on places in the Balearics is some 620,000. Not all of these are active, but data indicate that through transfer and purchase of places - if a 50% cut is applied - as many as 5,000 places in Mallorca could go on annual basis.

The precise details of the proposals have yet to be made clear. They will become clearer as the bill makes its way through the parliamentary procedure. There is already a four-year moratorium on the purchase of new places, which applies to around 18,000 in the whole of the Balearics. It has been left to the island councils to determine what happens with these.