Overcrowding has generated some anti-tourism sentiment. | Teresa Ayuga


The holiday rentals sector in Mallorca and the Balearics, while siding with the hoteliers in opposing any increase to the tourist tax, insists that it is being unfairly held responsible for tourist overcrowding.

This is in response to the Mallorca Hoteliers Federation having blamed the Balearic government and other institutions for their "manifest inability" to manage tourist flows and having allowed an "exponential growth" of holiday rentals beds in the past ten years - 85,000 compared to 29,000 hotel places over the past 21 years.

The manager of the Habtur holiday rentals association, Maria Gibert, says that "we have not grown that much and in fact we are decreasing very quickly due to the moratorium and the definitive drop in old places". She adds that it was "logical" that holiday rentals places should have increased the most, as they were the last to be legally integrated into the supply of tourist accommodation.

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For Gibert, there are other factors that explain overcrowding, such as population growth and the sale of homes to foreign buyers. Where she does agree with the hoteliers is in pointing to "deficient and obsolete" infrastructure and "a disastrous public transport network".

As to an increase in the tourist tax in 2023 (proposed by Més and Podemos), Gibert believes that this is a "hasty and unreasoned" proposal. It would be a mistake to make a decision such as this based on the current year, which has been characterised by conditions that have made visitor arrivals particularly high. "The situation has made this a record year, but next season will not be the same."

Jordi Cerdó, president of the FEATV federation, agrees that there will be more moderate figures in 2023. The solution is not to raise the tax but to reduce the number of accommodation places, which shouldn't be those of the federation's associates, "as we account for only 15% of existing places".

He is critical of the hotelier federation's references to the holiday rentals sector and blames the hoteliers for most of the responsibility. "In the 1960s, hotels grew at a rate of 500% a year. They grew like mushrooms and I can say that because I was a hotelier. We are sick of hearing lies and slander."