0

Palma.—Less than 24 hours after the Majorcan Chamber of Commerce called on the Balearic Minister for Tourism to properly regulate the holiday rental sector, hoteliers across Spain have complained about the money they are losing to the illegal renting of holiday homes.

Apparently, more and more tourists to Spain are steering clear of the country's traditional hotels and holiday homes in favour of a largely unregulated private holiday rental sector.

And, the country's 17 autonomous regions now control rules for private holiday rentals, a situation which has caused a good degree of confusion among renters, hence the Chamber of Commerce's issue with the Minister for Tourism.

Spain welcomed a record numbers of tourists in May and June.
In May, the country saw 5.8 million foreign visitors flock to its shores, while in June this number was 6.6 million. But nearly 4 million of these tourists chose not to stay in the country's traditional hotels and holiday homes.

That's up 560'000 on a year ago, according to Spanish Government tourism agency Frontur.
Instead, people are turning to “alternative” accommodation providers. The most important of these new-wave tourism providers are internet sites linking guests directly with the owners of private homes and rooms.

This growing sector does involve some risks though, the daily says, with some businesses taking advantage of unclear rules to avoid paying tax, thus creating unfair competition in the holiday rental market. Also, people who rent out private homes rarely have to submit to the complex safety regulations and building restrictions imposed on hoteliers.

The secretary general of Spain's hotels and holiday homes owners' association Ramón Estalella CEHAT , however, is reluctant to point the finger of blame at everyone.

He explains, though, that while his sector also saw an increase of 100'000 overnight visits from June 2012 to June 2013, hotel prices have stagnated.
In the tax office, there is also concern about the state of the industry. Around 3 billion euros from rental income goes undeclared every year in Spain, according to José María Mollinedo, the head of the tax officals' union Gestha.

But he pointed out that the data “is general and it's hard to know what percentage of that fraud is tourism-related”.Over to the Balearic Minister for Tourism.