During the fiesta speeches in 2015. | Pere Bota


Alfonso Rodríguez, Calvia's mayor, said yesterday evening that holiday rentals are having a pernicious effect on all-year residential renting. "This has become very expensive. There is a new challenge that requires suitable solutions from the point of view both of the tourism economy and of the social need for decent housing."

The mayor made his remarks during the opening addresses for Santa Ponsa's Rei en Jaume fiestas, which have become Calvia's most important summer fiestas. He explained that the municipality has been facing the emergence of the "phenomenon" of holiday rental for the past couple of years and he noted that last year he had already referred to it. "This is a type of accommodation that needs regulation in order to prevent it from getting out of control and creating difficulties of coexistence between residential and tourism use."

Rodríguez referred to "timely regulatory changes" for holiday rentals in Calvia. He had in mind the zoning that the Council of Majorca is now undertaking. He said that he trusted that various political forces will "arrive at a necessary agreement" and moved on to talk about the pressing problem of decent housing for young people and also for senior citizens and workers. Housing policies, he observed, "are complicated and the results are slow".

The mayor reflected on what has been an "excellent" tourism season in terms of occupancy. "Our municipality, like many other tourist destinations, is managing the success of the huge influx of tourists. Our tourism activity generates thousands of job opportunities for thousands of families. Every effort is made to guarantee the quality of the urban and natural environments: the cleanliness, the conservation and the safety."

Rodríguez touched on the issue of safety in mentioning the terrorist incidents in Barcelona and Cambrils. It was, he said, one of the threats facing tourist destinations. Others are "massification", environmental conservation, water resources, waste management and transport. On the attacks in Catalonia he spoke of their "cruelty and hate", adding: "We must know how to combine essential improvements in our security with the need to maintain our daily lives, our freedom." He praised the efforts of the local police and the state security forces who "perform extraordinary work".

Problems with tourism was another theme for the mayor. He said that it has been necessary to seek to curb excesses and so therefore to control certain zones as well as the "aggressive offer" of cheap alcohol. He singled out all-inclusive hotels because of the excessive consumption of alcohol and noted that Calvia had taken the lead in demanding regulation by the government. "Since the outset (of the current administration) we have been calling for this regulation and proposing that the supply of alcohol be limited."

On "massification" and issues raised by holiday rentals, Rodríguez stated that he hated phobias. The so-called tourismphobia was an unfortunate term, implying a narrow-minded reaction to what is an activity (rentals) that has great impact. "We have to look for solutions and apply them, but we must never attack - in a global way - an industry that is such a large part of our lives."