Gabriel Escarrer, the CEO of Meliá, speaking on Wednesday.

21-02-2018Teresa Ayuga

Gabriel Escarrer Jaume, the CEO of Meliá Hotels International, told a Palma audience on Wednesday that he endorses the 300,000 euro fine handed out to Airbnb by the Balearic government. "It was necessary," he observed, speaking in the context of stamping out illegal holiday rentals.

Organised by the Balearic association for family businesses, the audience also heard Escarrer explain that he is in favour of holiday rentals. The sector must, however, be regulated so that the same conditions apply as to the hotel industry. As for the government's legislation, he suggested that "patches" are being placed; there has to be a definition as to "where we want to locate holiday rentals".

Under the government's tourism law reform, there will be over 42,000 new accommodation places in Majorca. Most of these - around 30,000 - will be for holiday rentals. The rest will be for other types of accommodation. Asked if this number will be enough for hotels, Escarrer offered no opinion, preferring to refer to a future in which there is a focus on quality and product diversification.

It's important, he stressed, to seize the opportunity to consolidate the position of the Balearics, to which tourists have come in recent years because of conflicts in competing Mediterranean destinations.

Escarrer also mentioned the Luis Riu affair and the allegations made by the prosecutor in Miami-Dade County about gifts to public officials. He again offered no particular opinion except to say that Luis Riu is "very professional and ethical".

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Steve Riches / Hace 9 months

Oh what a surpise - Melia don't like Airbnb! I wonder why? The taxi drivers don't like cheap airport buses: I wonder why? etc. etc.

+5-

Sharon / Hace 9 months

Well I hope, massive American company, airbnb and all their lawyers, tell him and his paid cronies to do one. My thoughts are with my friends who own bars and restaurants and rely on the self catering holiday makers.

+7-

Carly / Hace 9 months

It's not just AirBNB who needs to be fined. How about HomeAway? They are still advertising apartments in my friends block. In fact they are fully booked for the summer. Not really fair on the residents who live there!! No license numbers on the ads!!

+-3-

Ron / Hace 9 months

Will he change his opinion of Airbnb now that they will be advertising hotels? Yes - of course he will.

+9-

John P / Hace 9 months

Who was in the audience,small bar owners,family restaurant owners,independent shop keepers.A poor report by Bulletin,what was reception to the CEO,did he get an easy ride,was it an invited audience.Come on Bulletin report properly and inform.

+12-

Henry James / Hace 9 months

Well he would,wouldn't he.

+21-

Steve, Palma Nova / Hace 9 months

Let's get this straight once and for all. The recent changes in the law did not stop illegal holiday rentals, the new laws made it illegal from that day onwards. Enough already....

+0-

Steve, Palma Nova / Hace 9 months

Let's get this straight once and for all. The new laws did not stop illegal holiday rentals, - the new laws made it illegal from that day onwards. Enough already...

+7-

Steve, Palma Nova / Hace 9 months

Of course he supports it, he invented it. Him and his cronies at the Hoteliers Federation offered free holidays to Barceló to implement it by abusing his powers and going ahead without a vote from the people. Now Escarrer can increase his prices and continue syphoning off even more money out of Mallorca to his other destinations. He couldn't care less about how the locals, or anybody else is affected in the longer term. Worth remembering too that his empire was started when he was given the funds from the "government", every year he recoeves millions more to fund reforms at the taxpayers expense.

+32-