At a forum in Palma, business leaders in the tourism sector agreed that there should have been regulation of holiday rentals much earlier than there was.
Some 120 people attended the forum at Son Vida organised by the Asociación para el Progreso de la Dirección, the president of which is Sebastian Escarrer, brother of Gabriel, the CEO of Melia Hotels International. The topic of rentals and legislation was raised by Joan Vilà, the president of the Palma-based online agency Hotelbeds. He believed that the business model of websites engaged in the so-called collaborative economy, such as Airbnb, is positive, but was of the opinion that when changes in society occur - as they have as a result of this economy - legislation is too slow to react.
Encarna Piñero, CEO of the Piñero Group, observed that technological advance has resulted in there being new players and that "the public sector has not been capable of regulating at the same time as these players have been entering the market". The result has been the questions raised over legality and the "negative situations" that have occurred. "Nothing was done, so what in principle should have been a positive has been turned into a negative," Vila remarked.
Sabina Fluxà, CEO of the Iberostar Group, while saying that regulation should have been addressed earlier, added that rentals websites had inspired a "technological revolution" for hoteliers. She stressed the differences in hotel services to those of the rentals sector.
Encarna Piñero was not in favour of prohibition but of regulation that ensures that the same rules apply. The free market should apply but under the same rules of the market.