Dear Sir,

Hopefully she will put in place stringent rules to seek out these serious wrong doers and bring them to justice. Hopefully she will stamp out all these illegal properties and bring in new laws, where deemed appropriate to ensure that all properties used by tourists are rigidly controlled. The cost of this exercise does not matter, despite the perilous financial state of Majorca and the reduction of tourists coming to the island is quite acceptable providing all these illegal “usually substandard” properties are closed down. I am sure the international press will take an interest and with a little help from them, it should be possible to make a sizable reduction in the people who come to Majorca on holiday.

Well done Immaculada your costly exercise, if put into operation, will help even further with the demise of the fragile economy of the what is arguably the most beautiful island in the world! I am a retired English man who for some years ran a small very successful, originally one destination, travel company. We were members of Abta, Civil Aviation Authority bonded and members of the Association of Independent Tour Operators. We also worked with the Fomento del Turismo on the island who provided free help and advise, which was invaluable.

We had an up market brochure running to over 50 pages listing self catering properties essentially at the top end of the market and a selection of, in general, small boutique style hotels. Every property we listed, self-catering or hotel was inspected and had to subscribe to our high criteria and was subject to being checked at regular intervals. Our complaints procedure was stringent, although our actual level of problems was minimal and our repeat business percentage extremely high. We had English speaking representation through local companies or in some cases individuals in all parts of the island. Our relationship with our hoteliers and property owners was excellent and personal and we worked together to provide a service to our clients many of whom came with us year after year.

In addition to accommodation we provided flights from all airports with representation at Palma airport and car hire through a highly reputable local Majorcan company with none of the scams and inherent problems one now reads about.

With my experience I do think I am qualified to pass comment in the proposals made in the Daily Bulletin yesterday. Importantly our experience showed, that in general, our hotel guests very rarely, if at all, made use of our self catering properties and conversely our self catering guests did not change to booking in hotels, but booked self catering again often in the same property every year. None of our hotels were all inclusive and thus the clients who used them did spend much needed euros whilst here on the island. The same applies for the self-catering guests, indeed I will never forget the remarks passed by one of our cleaning staff who remarked on the discarded shopping bags, in properties, many from expensive Palma shops and stores. Indeed the revenue from some of these clients was quite considerable and a welcome addition to the local economy.

Is there a problem that needs addressing. Yes! One has to accept that many holiday home owners need some extra income in order to help to pay their expenses and contribute to maintenance etc.
Additionally other locally based owners up grade often old substandard properties they own specifically to obtain additional income from rentals.
This does dictate the need for a degree of policing. Simplified regulations should be in force and readily available so property owners can comply with the requirements to ensure the minimum standards required. It is very necessary to police the level of facilities offered by properties to ensure acceptable standards are maintained. We did offer a copy of our stringent property contracts to the government some years ago stressing that both us, the Tour Operator and the Ministry of Tourism had the same aims and should work together. This came to nothing. Travel companies using self-catering properties should be made fully aware of the legal requirements and the government should work with them to ensure the standards required are met, thus hopefully relieving the Majorcan government of some of the “leg work”. The authorities will still be required to undertake random checking.

The payment of tax on lettings is a separate issue. It is the responsibility of owners to pay relevant taxes, but this should be handled by the tax authorities and not the Ministry for Tourism. The regulations regarding how to assess tax liabilities should be again readily available. It is an accepted fact that many owners will fall below the arbitrary level of net income where they have a tax liability. Repairs and renewals within agreed parameters would be applied before a tax liability is declared.

Majorca is without doubt a wonderful island with much to offer and its people, in general, friendly and hospitable. However at times one does find action taken to be negative and to use the old phrase of shooting ones self in the foot seems to apply. We have a home on the island, which we have owned for many years and we still visit Majorca on a regular basis throughout the year. Our property on the island is our home and we are fortunate enough not to have to rent out, so any regulations would not adversely affect us. However we passionately believe in anything positive concerning the island, which is so close to our hearts and is to be welcomed.

Yours sincerely

Michael Walsh

U.K. and Palma.