If they have the grounds, hotels will be able to expand facilities. | E. C.

Hotels in Mallorca will, after all, be able to expand their facilities by fifteen per cent.

Back in the spring, the Balearic government presented a law of urgent measures for economic reactivation. This expansion was one element of the law. It did not mean building additional facilities for accommodation, but it did allow for building development for other purposes within hotel grounds.

There was opposition to this. One of PSOE's partners in government, Més, obtained a quid pro quo that led to Més giving the hotel expansion its support. This was the decree law for building on rustic land. When the bill was taken to parliament, its wording had been altered and it was passed. The provision was up to ten per cent expansion, with 15% being left to the discretion of the relevant authorities for tourism planning.

In the case of Minorca and Ibiza, their respective Councils have the authority. In Mallorca, the same powers haven't been transferred from the government to the Council. Consequently, it is for the government to decide, and the tourism minister, Iago Negueruela, has done this. On Saturday, the order allowing 15% expansion in Mallorca was published in the Official Bulletin.

This has caused a rift with Podemos, who have been demanding that the powers be transferred to the Council of Mallorca and are highly critical of what they maintain is a "unilateral" decision. Aurora Ribot, who is second vice-president of the Council, says that the expansion is not in line with a change to the tourism model "and is not the most effective way to direct economic recovery".

Ribot believes that the government's decision is "disrespectful to the reality of the island as well as unfair, because Mallorca is the only island which has been unable to decide for itself". "It seems to be a decision which serves to satisfy the desire of some hotels to expand under the excuse of the pandemic."

From Negueruela's perspective, the order is "essential" in maintaining incentives for improvements to tourist establishments "that will maintain employment and improve Mallorca's tourism sector".