Expansion of facilities in hotel grounds is permitted under the tourism law. | MDB


One of the key initiatives contained in the Balearic government's new tourism law is conversion of so-called obsolete hotels into residential accommodation, office space or care centres. To date, neither the government nor the Council of Mallorca has received a single request for such conversion.

While the law does have provision for other uses, residential accommodation is the main aim. It comes with the proviso that 50% of the conversion is for social housing of a VPO category - protected housing with prices for purchase (or possibly for rent) set by the government.

Josep Melià of El Pi, one of the opposition parties, pushed for hotel conversion to be included in the law, but he believes that 50% is too high and is deterring hotel owners and property developers. He would prefer it to be 30%.

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The government recognises that the proposal has not worked so far but instead highlights other aspects of the law that are having an effect, such as the expansion of hotel establishments to introduce improvements to their facilities on the condition that these do not entail an increase in the number of hotel beds.

El Pi also pressed for the possibility of changing classification of land use from tourism to residential purposes. In this regard, the Council of Mallorca has received two proposals, the law requiring that 30% and not 50% of new development must be VPO.

* The absence of requests for conversion isn't that surprising. After Covid hit, government emergency economic measures included conversion. There were no takers then either, despite hoteliers having been open to the possibility. But owners sat tight and waited for the pandemic to pass.

In 2012, the tourism law introduced by the Partido Popular also offered the possibility of conversion, but with no social housing strings attached. The number of takers for this was minimal.