According to latest data released by the environmentalists Terraferida, a total of 99 "owners" control half the holiday rentals in Majorca that are advertised on Airbnb.
This concentration of ownership draws into question the notion that holiday rentals are in the hands of small owners (with one or two properties) and are representative of the "collaborative economy".
Jaume Adrover, the Terraferida spokesperson, gave a press conference in front of the Balearic parliament building yesterday and denounced the government's inaction in dealing with a business that for Airbnb between January 2016 and March 2017 turned over at least 294 million euros.
Terraferida has now added HomeAway data to that which it had already compiled for Airbnb. Whereas Airbnb has 119,059 tourist places in 21,999 properties, HomeAway has 160,016 places in 23,968 properties. Of the Airbnb places, almost 82,000 are in Majorca.
There is one user on HomeAway, said Adrover, who has 800 properties, while there is a person living in Germany who has 150 properties. Moreover, there is an estate agency based in Germany which rents accommodation but has hardly any employees in the Balearics and pays no taxes locally. There are companies, he noted, taking advantage of legal gaps in regulations.
The environmentalist group concludes that there are some 200,000 illegal places that are contributing to a "hotelisation" of towns and cities. It believes that the government urgently needs to act and that its legislation is far more restrictive than is currently the case with the draft text. "There needs to be a ceiling on the number of tourist places and to also be a reduction in the number which there is at present," said Adrover.
He was accompanied by residents of central Palma and by the president of the federation of residents' associations in Palma, Joan Forteza, who encouraged residents to report illegal activity.