Can Bordoy in Palma, representative of conversion into a hotel. | Can Bordoy

Last July, Palma town hall gave initial approval to modifications of the city's general urban plan as it affects future tourist establishments. The governing board yesterday agreed the definitive plan, which is to be presented for final approval at the next council meeting.

Under the plan there is to be a ban on building new establishments (hotels) and youth hostels in the centre of the city. Building will also be limited in the Nou Llevant area and the rest of the city, with the exception of Playa de Palma. This is to be dealt with separately under the plan for comprehensive redevelopment of the resort area, and that plan involves authorities other than just Palma.

The plan will not prevent redevelopment in the city centre, so long as this is redevelopment of protected buildings into five-star accommodation and there are no more than twenty rooms. In Nou Llevant, new establishments will be allowed but only in parts that are 100% for tourism use, and this will not exceed 30% of land. Building of homes that are envisaged for Nou Llevant - up to 2,550 - will have to be complied with.

In other areas of the city, new hotels will only be allowed on streets which are a minimum of twenty metres wide, while it will not be possible to convert buildings for residential use into tourism use.

José Hila, deputy mayor for urban planning, says that the change to the plan will create a balance in face of the increase in requests for new hotels. The town hall, he adds, isn't looking for an increase in the number of tourists but in quality. There is support for the plan, he states, from the hotel sector and the federation of residents associations.

It is important, Hila stresses, to stop hotel saturation in the city centre. There are currently 48,000 hotel places in the whole of Palma, 35,000 of which are in Playa de Palma. In July 2017, he notes, there were 38 hotels in the old centre. There are now 63 requests for new hotels, eighteen of which are at present being processed. All of these would take the number up to 101, with a doubling in the number of places to 4,342.