The holiday rentals association Habtur has responded to statements made by the tourism minister Bel Busquets to the parliamentary tourism committee on Thursday. The association considers it unacceptable that the ministry is congratulating itself on having granted only 122 new holiday rentals licences (some 600 places).

Joan Miralles, the president of Habtur, says that new regulation has been a failure. Requirements are complicated and difficult to meet. The zoning excludes parts of the island where there had been (and still are) significant supplies of rental accommodation. The high price to register places is a disincentive.

"This flop will inevitably lead to what the association has always said - the underground economy and grievances of those owners who comply with tax obligations with those who do not. We cannot allow this to happen. The lost opportunity of regulation entails lost revenue for the government so that it can mitigate the negative effects of tourism."

Habtur believes that holiday rentals and their regulation will prove to be the biggest failure of the current government, and Miralles adds that "if this season has been difficult, next season we'll have to deal with the consequences of prohibition". Those responsible for this will be Bel Busquets and the tourism director-general, Toni Sansó.