There has been a considerable increase in the number of Palma's boutique hotels. | Archive


The Arca heritage preservation association supports the call for a suspension of new building licences for city hotels in Palma. Its vice-president, Josep Masot, backs a moratorium, which would cover the old town and areas of historical interest, such as Es Jonquet.

He points to the need for there to be a plan which regulates hotels in order to make them compatible with residential requirements. Masot argues that hotel conversions have maximised the number of places and in the process not observed heritage values.

Taking the opposite view is the Palma hoteliers' association. It is totally opposed to the proposal of a moratorium but is willing to engage in discussions regarding a sustainable model. Its president, Javier Vich, has questioned information given out by the residents' federation, which has proposed a moratorium for three years. The federation's figures state that there will be thirty new hotels by the end of the year and that they will have 1,200 places. Vich wants the town hall's urban planning councillor (deputy mayor Antoni Noguera) to give "real data".

Vich adds that residents and businesses are satisfied that the converted hotels are revitalising areas and restoring buildings that had been neglected. He notes that the investment cost of restoration is much higher than building from scratch and that the type of tourism which is attracted is of a very high quality.

The residents' federation is not the only body that represents residents but it is the most vocal. Another group, the federation for Ciutat de Palma, is in favour of regulating hotels but isn't in favour of suspending licences. Its president, Miquel Obrador, doesn't believe that a residents' body should be having its say on such an issue in any event. In his opinion, it is up to the town hall to decide. Pointing to the differences between the federations, Obrador has offered a reminder that it was the other federation which made an error in its wish to get rid of terraces from the Born.

Opposition political parties - the Partido Popular and Ciudadanos (C's) - are also opposed to licence suspension. The C's concede that there should be an assessment of the number of hotels and a recognition of residents' needs. The PP say that boutique hotels in the city hardly represent a huge increase in numbers of tourists, given that they typically have no more than fifteen or twenty rooms. Restoration work, the party adds, has contributed to an improvement of the old town.

Antoni Noguera said yesterday that it would not be possible to apply a three-year moratorium on licences, which is what the residents' federation had called for. This is because licence suspension can only be for a year. He added that there is to be a study of the current tourism offer in the city. From this will come a plan for tourist establishments and possible other measures that can be adopted.