The tourism law is due to be approved at the end of this month. | Gabriel Alomar

On May 31, the Balearic parliament is due to approve the final version of the new tourism law. One aspect of this is the conversion of obsolete tourist accommodation stock into residential accommodation, offices or care homes. This is not an obligation, but the law will reinforce the possibility of doing so, there having been similar provision in the 2012 tourism law.

Conversion is essentially aimed at one and two-star (key) establishments. In the Balearics, there are 408 of these. In total, they have 28,121 places. They include hotels, tourist apartments and hostels.

These places would not be lost, so the conversion doesn't imply a decrease in the number. They will go to the pool of places that will be available for four and five-star accommodation. This is another option for obsolete stock - an upgrade in terms of quality.

The government is aware that not all owners of these establishments will agree to change of use because of the conditions. If they are converted into residential accommodation, one half of the resultant properties would have to be for VPO social housing; the other half could be offered on the open market.

An additional complication is presented by the requirement to pay tax to town halls - five per cent of the value of the converted buildings. It may also be the case that some establishments have to be demolished and rebuilt if conversion isn't feasible. The law will allow for this possibility. Moreover, owners would have to find jobs for workers who will no longer be employed for hotel purposes.