Tourism ministry inspections of hotels this month found almost three-quarters of them to be overcrowded.

Forty hotels were inspected, and in over 70% of cases there was some level of room overcrowding. In some instances this was up to 50% or 66%. In most cases it was no more than 10%, but the tourism director general, Pilar Carbonell, described the findings as "very concerning".

There are defined standards of room size and their occupancy. In addition to affecting guest comfort, there are safety issues and ones to do with staff workloads. The number of employees is governed by the number of places a hotel has declared there to be.

Fines for over-occupancy range from 4,001 to 40,000 euros. The inspections are likely to result in total fines of over half a million euros. But there could be further punishment that goes beyond fines for the more serious infringements.

The hotels that were inspected were in the main resorts and were all three-star establishments (or three key) that have been the object of tourist complaints in the past because of overcrowding.