Aptur, the association for tourist apartments (of the holiday rental variety), says that there are 45,000 properties in the Balearics which have 180,000 tourist places available and that 54,000 of these places are currently regularised. This means that 70% will avoid the application of the tourist tax because they aren’t regularised and outside any form of control by the tourism ministry. This legal vacuum is something that Aptur wished to dealt with through a reform of the tourism law.
Its president, Juan Estarellas says that he regrets the absence of regulation for apartments and homes otherwise subject to the Urban Leasing Act and the Civil Code. “We know that all those under the tourism law should apply the tourist tax, but what about the others?”
The problems that arise from this situation of lack of definition is that all properties not registered can be fined for illegal activity, should pay the tourist tax and then another fine for not paying the tax when it comes into effect. “This creates a legal defencelessness from the outset.”
The association is asking the government for reform to the law to establish and define what is meant by channels for tourist use marketing, as this will provide guidance on how to act and on not engaging in illegal activities.
Biel Barceló, the tourism minister, has recently said that the ministry’s inspection service is inadequate when it comes to controlling all tourist accommodation on the islands. “We cannot increase the number of inspectors, as this isn’t possible at the moment.” The lack of personnel will be offset with the use of technologies in order to reveal as much tourist accommodation as possible.
Meanwhile, Aptur points out that its members are willing to pay the tourist tax and will do, but for this to happen, the government has to tackle the legal and administrative vaccum.