Reaction to Palma town hall's announcement that it will not permit apartment holiday rentals anywhere in the city has been as might have been expected. In yesterday's Bulletin, we reported the response from Habtur, the holiday rentals association ("profound disagreement"), and further criticism has come from opposition parties at the town hall.
The Partido Popular's spokesperson, Marga Durán, says that it is not a good decision and has accused the administration of choosing a ban because of its inability to manage the situation. She takes issue with the fact that 20,000 were spent on the zoning study in order to arrive at the decision and also with the timing of the release of the study: just 48 hours before the next council meeting, which doesn't give enough time to thoroughly assess it.
Josep Melià, the president of El Pi in Palma, believes that the decision won't solve the problem and will have a negative impact on tourism in the city. He observes that the left-wing parties criticised the PP for its prohibition regarding apartment rentals and that they had indicated that they would "regulate" (by being less restrictive). "Now they want to do the same. The decision doesn't make it any easier to access rental accommodation."
The Pimeco association for small to medium-sized retailers worries that the ban will improverish the city and harm smaller businesses, while not helping to lower the price of rental accommodation or to create greater availability. Its president Toni Fuster says that holiday rentals boost the local economy and local shops because of purchases made by tourists.
On the other side of the debate, the president of the Palma Hoteliers Association, Javier Vich, believes that the town hall has been "very courageous", while adding that he hasn't had the chance to look at the study in depth. He thinks that the ban will make more rental accommodation available and that it will contribute to a tourism model of greater quality. "We are working on making Palma a sustainable and quality tourism destination. Offering rentals in apartment buildings was not doing that."
The citizens' group Ciutat per qui l'habita looks upon the prohibition favourably but argues that more needs to be done. It wants inspections to root out apartment rentals that don't comply with regulations and measures to increase the number of apartments for residential rent and at "accessible prices".
The Federation of Residents Associations was the body which made the proposal for a ban at a council meeting last July. That proposal was approved at the meeting. Its president, Joan Forteza, is therefore very satisfied and believes that the residents have "won against those monsters of holiday rental". Nevertheless, he believes that the zoning is not the solution to the problem and that more has to be done in building accommodation for young people and workers.
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