Balearic Government: Armengol rejects limits on tourism but commits to “correct excesses’
- In the Ibizan Issue 844 15th September 2016, we asked whether the number of tourists to our Island should be dictated by market forces or by government regulation/intervention. We have our answer …
- Rhian Gibbs
President of the Government, Francina Armengol, gave the opening speech on Tuesday at the general political debate of the Community, sending a clear message to their partners of legislature in reference to mass/overcrowding in tourism: “We must be alert at the time of adopting structural decisions based on a situation that has a significant cyclical load.” Faced with calls from the Mes y Podemos parties that would push for a limit to the arrival of tourists, Armengol decided to “correct” the “excesses” that have occurred.
“It is true that you have lived uncomfortable situations, but we cannot generalise specific or concrete episodes or have to turn that into a message against tourists,” said the chief executive, who defended “seeking a balance” and make “compatible the development of the main economic activity” of the Balearics with “the improvement of the quality of life” of the citizens.
Armengol considered that the debate on the tourist pressure must be approached from “social, environmental, economic and employment” parameters and do it “from a realistic position, aware of the limitations” as an autonomous community and that the decisions taken “shall seek to benefit the maximum of people”. In this sense, she considered that “the exceptional situation of this season” is explained largely by “a temporary situation” by “terrorism and political instability” that has been suffered by other tourist destinations, which has had the knock on effect that the islands have become a “haven destination”. However, the situation of competing destinations can change, so she insisted on the need to be “very careful at the time of adopting decisions imposing limitations now that could harm us in the future”.
However, alongside the positive aspects of a good tourist season, she admitted that it has also caused “feelings of pressure and has brought more difficulties in access to housing”. In this sense, she stated that, while it would be “too simple” to attribute negative situations this summer to an increased supply of holiday homes, “it is true that there is an increase in the supply of tourist accommodation and a good part of it is outside the tourist regulation “.
In this context, she announced that in the regulation will be a brake in holiday homes. “I tell you now that not everything that is being rented to tourists can continue renting” said Armengol. Along with this, she announced the introduction of “mechanisms” in the draft Housing Act that will enter the Parliament in the new term, including the possibility that the Government will be able “to make use of empty homes in the hands of financial institutions” to facilitate the access to them.