Fornalutx, one of the municipalities benefiting from holiday rentals. | Patricia Lozano


Foro Vacacional, says its website, is a forum for professionals and owners in the holiday rentals' sector. Its CEO is Juan Estarellas, who until recently was the president of the Aptur holiday rentals' association. At a press conference yesterday, he explained that holiday rentals each year generate 280 million euros for the Tramuntana mountains, of which 150 million euros come from cycling tourism.

These figures, he said, are drawn from a study of Airbnb, Homeaway and Booking - properties both with and without a tourism ministry licence - and relate to seventeen Tramuntana municipalities. Calvia was not included among them because it would have distorted the figures, he noted.

Of 40,700 properties in the Tramuntana, some 9,500 of them are used for holiday rental. Such use, he continued, is positive. A tourist's average spend during a stay is 620 euros. This stay is on average 5.6 days, and properties typically can accommodate four people.

The revenue from cycling tourism is "very significant" on account of this type of tourism providing "quality" that is respectful of the environment and which "consumes all types of product" that help the island's economy. For this tourism sector, there is a "cycling friendly" mark, which categorises accommodation according to what it offers - gold, silver and bronze - and that guarantees it is adapted to cyclists' needs.

The objective of Foro Vacacional is to professionalise the rentals' sector for tourism purposes. It will provide training and the tools for promotion and marketing by owners and companies in order to provide legal accommodation of a "quality superior to that to which clients are accustomed".

Joan Carles Verd, the president of Felib, which represents town halls, said that as an institution it doesn't enter into assessments of the intentions of the law (regarding holiday rentals) but does defend the autonomy of municipalities. He added that the zoning of rentals, envisaged under the forthcoming legislation, should correspond to each municipality rather than be determined by other authorities, i.e. the Council of Majorca.

He indicated that he shares with Foro Vacacional the need for the holiday rentals' "industry" to become professional. He believes that it can become a very beneficial tourism model so long as regulation that does not demonise a sector which can distribute the wealth created from tourism. "We have spent years demanding that tourist activity is less seasonal," he noted. A holiday rentals' model provides a "very good opportunity" for achieving this.