President Armengol and tourism minister Iago Negueruela applaud the passing of the tourism law. | Jaume Morey

1

The Balearic parliament has given its approval to the new law for tourism circularity and sustainability.

President Armengol said in parliament on Tuesday that the new law will be a "brave and innovative standard" for modernising the islands' main economic activity. She expressed her satisfaction that the parties which govern in coalition with her PSOE party, Podemos and Més in Mallorca, had agreed with the law's provisions and that opposition parties - Ciudadanos and El Pi - had tabled amendments which had been incorporated into the law. She contrasted this with the outright rejection of the law and lack of proposals from the Partido Popular and Vox.

The minister for the economic model, tourism and employment, Iago Negueruela, stressed that the government's aim is to grow in quality but not in quantity. "We have practically reached the limit of our capacity." The law was predominantly Negueruela's work, there having been close liaison with the ministers of the environment (Miquel Mir of Més) and energy transition (Juan Pedro Yllanes of Podemos) in its drafting.

Negueruela said that the law is based on three aspects of sustainability - social, economic and environmental. With this in mind, there is a series of measures to enable "more inclusive and sustainable economic growth; improvement in coexistence between workers, residents and tourists; more efficient use of resources; and new impetus for public-private collaboration through the management of European funds". "The law will ensure that the Balearic Islands become a destination designed not only for tourists but also for residents and workers in the sector. We cannot continue to grow in terms of the number of tourist places, we must grow in quality."

A key aspect of the law addresses the number of tourist accommodation places in the Balearics. To this end, there is, for example, a four-year moratorium on new places. A "two for one" principle will apply if hotels of a certain size want new places - for each new one, they will have to give up two.

Hotel establishments will be required to adopt circularity measures, to eliminate polluting boilers and to have minimum percentages of local products on their menus. They will also have to introduce elevatable beds to reduce the risk of chambermaid occupational injury.

Another main item is a renewed effort to bring about conversion of obsolete hotel stock into residential accommodation (50% of which would have to be social housing), care homes or offices.