Saturday, September 09, 2006

Rental accommodation / Tourism economics

The regulations on rental accommodation (last reported 25 August) seem ever more confusing. I spoke with the boss of a company that manages and arranges holiday lets. Not only did I get a copy of the tortuous “law” and accompanying documentation, I also got the view that apartments are not covered, i.e. the regulations are focused on villas etc. Pollensa town hall, it would appear, has said (to this particular company) that apartments are not included, or at least that they cannot rubber-stamp aspects of the regulations as they might apply to apartments.

This is not surprising; the documentation makes reference to “vivienda unifamiliar aislada”, which literally means cut-off (i.e. stand-alone) single family home. To apply and certify such property there are various hoops that owners need to go through, and being an owner is signiifcant. If one is not the owner - e.g. of a whole block of apartments but of just one - no application can be made as the regulation requires a statement of such ownership.

My view is that if an apartment owner cannot comply with requirements in the documentation, this does not mean he or she can just turn a blind-eye; on the contrary, the inability to comply may mean that apartments simply cannot be offered as holiday lets - period.

There is then also the issue as to how all this might be enforced, as responsible technicians from the Ministry of Tourism need to enter properties and check on quality/safety aspects.

God knows what all this really means. It strikes me as a bureaucratic nightmare.

More back-slapping on numbers through the airport. Not only did Palma register more than 3 million passengers in August, it is set to see a similar number in September. This is being interpreted as more excellent news, with high hotel occupancies. Maybe, but the visitor spend is still key. You can have all the passengers in the world, but if they don’t dosh up sufficiently...?

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