Balearics to buy and close downmarket hotels

By Neal Baldwin
08/11/2022
Home » Balearics to buy and close downmarket hotels

The Balearic Islands government has vowed to acquire and close down poor-quality hotels and tourist bars in its latest move to shake off the Islands’ reputation for drunken excess.

EU and local funds will be used to finance the multi-million euro investment, which will focus on British clubbing favourites such as Magaluf and Playa de Palma in Majorca and San Antonio in Ibiza.

New laws introduced this year aimed at ending antisocial behaviour in the towns are already reaping rewards, according to the tourism board.

To discourage drunken young holidaymakers, bars and operators are now banned from offering promotions such as ‘two-for-one’ deals on drinks or selling organised bar crawls, while hotels cannot include booze in all-inclusive deals. Meanwhile, shops and off-licences cannot sell alcohol after 9.30pm.

In Magaluf alone, 10 bars have been closed down this year for breaching regulations and each of these could face fines of up to €600,000.

Rosana Morillo, Director General of Balearics Tourism, said: “We are already very satisfied with the changes the new laws on alcohol have made, which have been coupled with a strong police presence.

“The next step is to make a heavy investment in our infrastructure. We intend to buy up hotels that are obsolete and run down and transform them for the benefit of our community. We can turn them into housing, public buildings such as libraries or create new green spaces for people to enjoy.”

Morillo said the Islands’ government intended to tap in to EU funding dedicated to improving mature tourism product. Pub owners who previously served the tourist crowd would be eligible for money to switch their properties to restaurants, for example.

“The likes of Melia have invested in their properties in these areas and are pleased we are doing this. They see the benefit of improving resorts, attracting a different type of customer and making better margins,” added Ms Morillo.

The plan follows hot on the heels of the Balearics drive to become the first ‘circular’ destination in the Med. In January, the government set legally binding targets for all tourism businesses to limit paper and plastic waste, source a percentage of food locally, and optimise their energy and water usage.

“We have given tourism businesses money to survive the pandemic and now expect certain things from them,” added Ms Morillo. “If they comply in 2023 we will help fund the changes. If they delay, they will have to foot the bill themselves.”

In a further move, tourism authorities have decided to ban any hotel building or extensions for the next four years, and taken action to prohibit more than three cruise ships from visiting Majorca at any one time.

“We want better quality product, not more of it,” said Morillo. “And having Palma filled with cruise ship passengers really lowers the overall experience.”

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