SPANISH hoteliers want a crackdown on hundreds of thousands of foreignowned beach apartments which are rented illegally and undermine hotel profits, the industry confederation Cehat says.
More than 11 million foreign tourists stayed in unregistered accommodation in Spain last year, Cehat said yesterday. That compared with 34 million who stayed in hotels.
The hotel industry's profitability has dropped by between 15 and 30 percent in the last three years, says Cehat, which represents 9'000 hotels and rental apartment companies.
The industry is deeply concerned about this decline in profitability, Cehat's Chairman Jose Guillermo Diaz Montanes told a news conference.
The fall in profits is partly caused by tour operators forcing aggressive discounts and by the strength of the euro, but illegal accommodation is also a factor.
Cehat estimates there are between 500'000 and 750'000 apartments being let for free, or under undeclared private contracts.
It urged local authorities to enforce controls such as tax, safety and labour regulations and to stop allowing massive building in resorts.
Selling building licences is one of the main ways town halls obtain financing.
If not, it says the environment and the scenery will suffer. Resorts will become less competitive and fall into a deep (economic) crisis. The tourism industry accounts for just over 11 percent of the Spanish economy and is split roughly equally between Spanish and foreign tourism.
Earlier yesterday, the Industry and Tourism Ministry launched a 71 million euro (49 million pound) marketing campaign to boost foreign tourism to Spain.
Most of the advertising budget is aimed at the British and German markets.