ANYONE who has not registered property in the Balearics which is let out for holiday rents is going to have an increasingly difficult time, with the regional government announcing a crackdown yesterday on all illegal practice in this sector.

Hoteliers on the Islands are claiming that the era of holiday packages booked through tour operators has already peaked but residential tourism in privately owned houses, villas and apartments is still in the throes of taking off in a big way. The hoteliers say that undeclared holiday rents constitute an unfair practice because whilst hotel owners and the chains to which they may belong have to confirm to rigid government standards and tax demands, unauthorised renting is fiscally illegal and provides no guarantees to the clients in terms of amenities. Following the recent Holiday Trade Fair held in Madrid and at the request of major tour operators and hotel chains, the regional ministry for Tourism is therefore going to launch an even deeper investigation than ones it has initiated in the past, by following up advertisements in newspapers and trade magazines, not just here on the Islands but also in key client countries such as the United Kingdom and Germany, as well as making detailed searches on the Internet - a means through which many individual travellers and families are now choosing to book their tailor-made holidays.

Once the operation of weeding out illegal trade has been completed, the ministry will have a much more accurate overview by the time the summer arrives, of just how extensive the registered residential holiday rent business on the Islands actually is. The crackdown will also protect holidaymakers who rent from being “palmed off” with substandard properties.