Travel agencies say that the situation has existed for years. | Nuria Rincón

Pedro Fiol, the president of the Aviba travel agencies association, says that there are municipalities in the Balearics that are issuing travel certificates to foreigners who are living on the islands temporarily and who are therefore not entitled to travel discounts.

He maintains that this situation has existed for years but that it has worsened over the past eighteen months. "This worries us, because indirectly we are the big losers. The problem lies with administrative control failures, both by municipalities and by airlines."

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He adds: "Municipal officials, for whatever reason, are unaware of current regulations." Airlines, he explains, require the certificate of residence guaranteed by the SARA system (for administrations' applications and networks) for their reservations and at airports. Fiol continues: "There are days when the SARA system doesn't verify residents and this situation is alarming for travel agencies. If the residence of these temporary foreigners is not verified at the airport, the economic sanction falls on the agencies.

"The SARA control system is not adequate. Resident status should be automated in all cases. We cannot understand that if a person registers at a town hall and has a resident discount, the SARA system doesn't then automatically verify or authorise it."