Joan Miralles of Aptur spoke about holiday rentals zoning criteria.

02-03-2018Joan Torres

The Porreres shooting
The robbery and shooting at a Porreres finca was the main story for much of last week. It was to emerge that, in its planning and implementation, the robbery had been amateurish and, in the words of the Guardia Civil, "chaotic" and "disastrous". The supposed "brains" behind it was revealed as someone of low intelligence who apparently has a problem with drugs and gambling.

Two Colombian brothers were to provide the force and to carry out the robbery. It seemed as if the owner of the finca, Pau R., had acted in self-defence in shooting and killing one of the brothers, Mauricio. By the end of the week, criminal investigators were questioning this, believing that he had shot Mauricio before suffering injuries (punches to the face from the other brother). Pau's wife said that the couple were assaulted prior to the shooting. She herself had been thrown to the ground and kicked in the back.

Against this background, the mayor of Porreres held a meeting with the Guardia Civil and local police. Some weeks previously there had been a report about the lack of police presence and a rise in the number of robberies in Porreres and neighbouring municipalities: the Guardia cover three of these from their station in Vilafranca. The national government's delegate Maria Salom observed, however, that even with greatly enforced police numbers, incidents such as the one last weekend can never be totally prevented.


Balearics Day
It was Balearics Day on Thursday, the 35th anniversary of regional autonomy having come into force (on 1 March 1983, the announcement was made on the Official Bulletin of State). With the "beast from the East" having terrorised Majorca with some bitterly cold conditions on Tuesday, the weather behaved itself on Thursday. Warm and sunny, people went out in great numbers to enjoy events, concerts, guided tours and markets in Palma, but not only in the capital.

Politicians naturally offered some views to coincide with the celebration. President Armengol, saying that colleagues in PSOE want her to stand for re-election, talked about political organisation in the Balearics. She referred to the islands' "internal federalism": she is an advocate of reform that would create a truly federal Spanish state. The speaker of parliament, Baltasar Picornell, also considered reform. The Spanish Constitution, forty years old, was something for which his generation had not voted, and he wasn't "that young any more".


Holiday rentals zoning
The Aptur holiday rentals association spoke about submissions it has made regarding the Council of Majorca's zoning for rentals. In the association's opinion, the zoning and its categories of "saturated" and "mature" zones do not conform with legal criteria set out in the government's tourism law. Aptur said that the zoning had relied on an "unsound" methodology that had been partially reliant on data from Airbnb. In Catalonia, meanwhile, the regional competition authority was challenging the Spanish government's decree by which Airbnb and other websites will have to provide client information. The authority believes that the demands are "disproportionate and unjustified".


Positive about low-season tourism
There were some mixed messages about tourism. In December there had been a nationwide fall of almost two per cent in tourist revenues. In January there was a decrease in overnight stays in non-hotel accommodation (principally the tourist apartments, some of which are operated by hotel groups). However, there was an increase of over eleven per cent in the number of tourists who came to the Balearics in January.

Talk of the German market abandoning Majorca seemed somewhat premature. The Palma Hotelbeds Group revealed that Majorca remains the preferred destination for German travellers, while Ryanair announced new and increased services from German airports this summer. And there was some more positive news about low-season tourism. Palma 365 said that there has been a rise of over 75% in bookings for the 2017/2018 winter season.

We reported on the emergence of what some people consider to be long overdue: serviced apartments of luxury standards. A Majorcan company, Residence by G, offers apartments in Palma with services equivalent to those of a five-star hotel. The average cost per day is 236 euros.

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