Chief among businesses which are to be inspected are car-rental agencies and all-inclusive hotels. | S.G. CA


Tourist businesses that are not properly registered with the regional tourism ministry's directorate - as mandated by a decree of April last year - are to be the focus of the ministry's inspections this season. Sources at the ministry say that unlike previous years when inspections have focused on companies that are registered, this year's will be targeted at "illegal offer".

These businesses were given a year to get their affairs in order and register and they have been receiving reminders from the tourism ministry in recent months. It has been stressed that the deadline for complying with the decree is 19 April. From that date on, if they are still not registered properly, then they will be at the centre of inspectors' attention.

Chief among these businesses are car-rental agencies and all-inclusive hotels. In the case of the latter, they are obliged to register their all-inclusive offer with the ministry. Inspectors have been trawling the internet to find out which ones are offering all-inclusive. In the event that they are not on the ministry's register, then inspectors will be paying them a visit and checking on their quality standards and criteria. Likewise, there will be inspections of other businesses which are "active" but not on the list.

The inspectors are also going to be paying attention to any possible cases of overcrowding. This is expected to be an issue of particular concern because of the very high demand this season. For instance, it is not permissible for a hotel to declare that there are three beds in a room when there are in fact three "berths" (e.g. bunk beds) to accommodate six people. This overcrowding, suggests the ministry, is most apparent in the tourist apartment category and hotels with lower star ratings.

There are also to be checks made on holiday homes that are registered with the ministry. The objective with these will be the same: to ensure there isn't overcrowding. The ministry is aware that it is very easy to just add more places than are officially declared.

Fines for contravention of regulations start from 4,000 euros and can rise to 400,000 euros for the most serious. The ministry has fifteen inspectors at its disposal and it accepts that these are not enough to be able to do all that it would like. One of the most complicated areas of inspection is that of the illegal supply of apartments, something for which the government is planning new regulation this year.