Demand for holiday rentals is said to have soared in Palma. | M. A. Cañellas

The Council of Majorca’s councillor for land, Mercè Garrido, is asking the regional tourism ministry to press ahead rapidly with regulation of holiday rentals without waiting for the Council to approve its plan of intervention in tourist areas (PIAT). Garrido points out that it will take most of the current legislature (until 2019) for this to be approved. The Council is taking on powers for tourism organisation but for now, she says, solutions regarding rentals are in the hands of the government.

At present, the development of PIAT is in its first phase, with its drafting being done by an outside company. After this, it will be up for discussion by the Council.

One of its most important aspects is to be the zoning of Majorca, by which areas within municipalities that can include holiday rentals will be determined. This plan will replace what is called POOT. This scheme for establishing quotas for tourist accommodation within municipalities has not, says Garrido, been applied as it should have been.

The new plan will go beyond zoning for accommodation (including holiday rentals) and embrace important elements such as cycling and transport lanes and particular provision from a tourism perspective for the Tramuntana mountains.

Garrido stresses that it is necessary that the government acts in regulating short-term holiday rentals. If there were to be a delay until the plan is finally approved, the situation with rentals could become “highly problematic”. Whereas such rentals had been made mainly confined to the resorts, they have recently also become an issue in Palma and villages in Majorca’s interior. “We are facing a new reality for which we need to find a balance between the resident and tourist populations.” If this is not done, warns Garrido, there is a risk of “killing the goose which lays the golden eggs”. 

Meanwhile, The Majorca Hoteliers Federation estimates that some 30% of Majorca’s holidaymakers stay in unregulated accommodation. By contrast, the island has 341,000 regulated places (hotels and others) and on the tourism ministry’s books.