Armengol reduces tourist places by law amid doubts of unconstitutionality

Mayte AmorosCONTINUEPALMA DE MALLORCA Updated: 05/31/2022 20:13h
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The new Balearic tourism law of the tripartite government of PSOE, Podemos and the nationalists of Més per Mallorca has been approved this Tuesday amid doubts about its unconstitutionality. The PP has requested that the rule be sent to the Consell Consultiu, the highest consultation body, considering that there are legal doubts regarding the tourist moratorium.

This is the most controversial point of the new rule, which sets the path for the decrease in tourism on the islands with the blocking of the pool of places in Mallorca, Ibiza and Formentera. From now on, the island governments (consells) will have four years to review the existing offer and set a ceiling for places, which must be lowered.

In the case of Menorca, which does not have a pool of places, the freeze is applied for the new offer. After this period, for every two places that are sold between owners, one will have to be canceled, which mainly affects tourist rentals, which foresees the elimination of up to 5,000 places per year.

After a day of marathon and practically single-issue debate in the Balearic Parliament, the new law has gone ahead with the partial support of Ciudadanos and the regionalist PI party, while the PP and Vox have rejected it. The president of the Balearic Islands, the socialist Francina Armengol, has described the law as "pioneering, committed and courageous" and considers that it puts "the emphasis on quality and not quantity".

From the opposition, the PP assures that it is “an anti-tourism law, a strike law, which goes against the workers”, and warns that it will change the legislation if it wins the elections next year and will present an alternative project based on the sustainable tourism.

The popular ones believe that the moratorium is an attack on free competition, on market freedom, on the small businessman, the small owner and the small investor and warns that jobs will be destroyed with the decrease. Likewise, they requested to send the law to the Consell Consultiu, although the Parliament rejected this option.

For Vox, the new regulation prevents free competition and the possibility of creating new tourism businesses. He criticizes that there is no report that supports two of the main points of the Tourism Law, such as the moratorium and the decrease in the number of places.

“We have 600,000 tourist places. It is time to bet everything on quality and improve it, not to grow more. The objective is to be better, not bigger”, defended the Minister of Tourism, Iago Negueruela. But for the econationalists of Més per Menorca –external government partners- this law falls short, so they accuse the regional government of being “afraid” to move forward.

Of the three pages of the bill presented in the month of February, the law has remained at 75 pages, after parliamentary processing with amendments. In addition to the decrease, it incorporates the obligation to put elevating beds (mechanical or electrical) to facilitate the work of housekeepers from 2023. This implies renovating 300,000 beds.

It also allows hotels to expand common areas if they reduce rooms by 5%, except for small establishments. In addition, obsolete hotels can be converted into homes in exchange for half being officially protected. 3% of the food will be local produce. The boilers will be gas or electric, and the taps will have to have a water-saving system. The regulations contemplate fines of 500 euros for non-raisable beds or 5,000 for each toilet without a double water-saving button.

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