Illegal campsites have been closed down. | Guardia Civil

Three illegal campsites have been closed down and reported by the Guardia Civil. They were in Algaida, Manacor and Sant Joan and were being publicised via a holiday rentals' website with prices of between fifteen and forty euros per person per day.

The Guardia Civil have acted following an investigation by its Seprona environmental protection enforcement division. Officers from Seprona were checking who was using the campsites: they were foreign tourists who had reserved accommodation via the internet.

The campsites had been set up illegally on rural land. Among other things, they offered showers, toilets, tables and chairs, and barbecues. The latter, say the Guardia, were potentially a serious fire risk given the campsites' locations in wooded areas.

They had no form of tourism authorisation, no tourist activity licence and no planning permission.

In March, the Bulletin reported on campsites that were being offered via Airbnb, including ones in Algaida and Manacor. Tents in Manacor were situated among orange groves and carob trees. Clients could, if they wished, take their own tents. In Algaida it was said that the camping offered an experience in the natural heart and countryside of Majorca.

Camping is sometimes mistakenly said to be prohibited in Majorca. It isn't, but it is governed by legislation dating back to 1986. This was introduced by the first regional government which was controlled by the former Alianza Popular (which became the Partido Popular). The rules established then made camping a difficult business proposition. In addition, there are factors such as land organisation for tourist activities and town hall/Council of Majorca permissions. In Ibiza, by contrast, there are some campsites which have existed for years.

The situation in the Balearics differs greatly with, say, Catalonia. Camping is a significant part of that region's tourism mix.