The Three Kings were in Palma and everywhere else in Majorca.

05-01-2017Humphrey Carter

Zones for holiday rentals
Another year but some familiar stories. The period for submissions to be made regarding the holiday rentals' legislation will end later this month. There is much to yet be ironed out, not least the issue of zoning. On Friday we looked at what could prove to be a legal and administrative nightmare. Just how will holiday rentals' places be allocated according to the nine zones in Majorca? And what about the potential for currently legal rentals to become "de-registered"?

Palma, which is one of these zones but will fall outside the Council of Majorca's zoning plans, has moved pre-emptively in starting its study of how zoning in the city will work. The town hall is addressing the issue area by area and its guiding principle is that there should be a mix of uses: blanket authorisation or prohibition will not apply to any area.

Pollensa is part of a zone that encompasses the bays of Pollensa and Alcudia as well as quite a large inland area. It has long been understood that holiday rentals are very important to the municipality, and just how important was emphasised by information which showed the number of places for both hotel and rentals in each municipality. (These are registered rentals by the way.) Of the main tourist municipalities, Pollensa is the only one where the offer of rentals is greater than that of hotels. No other municipality really comes close.

Might this fact prove disadvantageous to Pollensa when the zoning decisions are made? If it already has so many, why should it need more? Moreover, might it find that some properties are de-registered?

Spending the tourist tax
The tourist tax, never far from the agenda, returned. This time it was how the tax revenue is to be spent. The committee which makes the decisions (the cabinet has the final say) is sifting through a total of 236 proposals, the combined value of which is 218.4 million euros. This is substantially more than the 30 million it has to play with.

The proposals were broken down according to different "purposes". One of these, water infrastructure projects, had been added by the government in response to the drought. Almost half the proposals have to do with water. How many of the various purposes will end up being satisfied remains to be seen, but we wondered about the sheer complexity of the decision-making. Tourist taxes elsewhere tend to have single purposes, often as a general tax to help pay for local services.

The government, meanwhile, was turning up the heat on any potential tourist tax fraud. A specific department within the tax inspectorate will be paying special attention to this, with the government insisting that it wants to ensure that every tourist pays the tax. While a stated intention has been to treat rentals under the tenancy act as liable to the tax, it is hard to understand how the government can do this.

Punta Ballena for sale
In Magalluf there was seemingly more evidence of the onward march towards resort transformation. On Punta Ballena, representative of the image that Calvia and others want to rid Magalluf of, it was reported that some twenty establishments are up for sale, rent or traspaso. The conclusion was that businesses which have not bought into the transformation by adjusting their offer are having to sell up.

Illegal immigrants
On New Year's Day a "patera" craft was discovered on the Llucmajor coast. This could mean only thing: illegal immigrants. The Guardia Civil swiftly detained one person. In all there were thirteen, who had crossed from Algeria in a boat fit for a maximum of six people. It was far from being the first such incident, and it will not be the last. Of the thirteen, one was being tested to determine how old he is (if he is a minor, that is). He is likely to follow the others in being sent to a mainland detention centre to await deportation.

The Kings
And on Thursday evening, the island was full of parades. The Three Kings arrived by boat, by float and by all sorts of means. The festive season was drawing to a close. But another will follow shortly: for Sant Antoni and Sant Sebastià.


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