Palma.—As many as 40 percent of the tourists arriving at Palma's Son Sant Juan airport are staying in accommodation which is either not registered with, or fails to meet the standards of, the regional Ministry for Tourism, the Majorcan Hotel Federation (FEHM) claimed yesterday.

Inmaculada de Benito, the senior director for FEHM said that this “irregular” situation had worsened during the present tourist season on Majorca due to the economic crisis. Wanting to part with the minimum amount of cash, de Benito said, people are renting their properties without declaring the fact to local authorities and the Inland Revenue, arranging house exchanges for holidays and renting out flats that are not registered for the purpose with the Ministry for Tourism.

The Ministry says that there are currently 1'614 officially recognised establishments to accommodate tourists on Majorca, providing 286'000 places.
To control what the FEHM considers to be unfair competition to tax paying hotels and other registered establishments, it is going to hand over a list of websites to the Ministry before the end of the month containing a list of properties on Majorca which are being advertised to clients in Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom without a proper licence. “We want the Ministry to have a good look through this information and weed out the properties which are advertising illegally,” said de Benito, adding that the FEHM were already aware that the favourite spots for illegal holiday business is in Palma, Capdepera, Pollensa, Alcudia and Calvia.

She said that the action being taken by the FEHM was not just to force illegal establishments to comply with the law, but if the accommodation proved to be sub-standard, the poor image it would generate may possibly tarnish all Majorcan accommodation with the same brush. “We have the interests of the clients in mind as well,” de Benito claimed. The Ministry for Tourism responded to the FEHM intentions yesterday by saying that it had for some time been well aware of the problem.

A ministry spokesman said that a key measure to combat illegal holiday accommodation is by means of inter-municipal collaboration. “The Mayors and local councils are well placed to exchange legal and touristic information,” he said. “Local authorities have all the necessary data to put a halt to fraud,” he claimed.

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