Holiday Rentals: A week in the news July 2014

Holiday rentals news

Catalonia steps up the pressure

Catalonia introduced a legislation to regulate holiday rentals back in 2012. Professional owners and agents were quick to get their licence in place. However, the number of holiday rentals operating without a licence, is still in the tens of thousands. Now Catalonia is stepping up the pressure, with the introduction of fines for non-licenced holiday rentals, a step they warned was to come.  

Disciplinary proceedings have been brought on 284 cases, 102 of these have now been resolved, with owners and agents receiving fines between 3,001 and 24,000 Euros.  In total 537,771 Euros in penalties have been issued with more to come.  

And Airbnb haven't escaped

And it seems that owners and agents aren’t the only ones in trouble, as the Catalan government has issued a fine of 30,000 Euros to the portal Airbnb for publishing illegal rentals. They have also threatened to block Airbnb from working in the region. We’re not quite sure how they would manage that one.  

Airbnb have been proactive in other regions, collecting due taxes and working with local governments to promote health and safety standards. But in Spain it’s a different story. Spain-holiday.com is still the only portal working within the law; requiring owners and agents to provide their licence number when advertising their holiday home in Catalonia. 

Spain's 'bad bank' moves in on holiday rentals

More often than not, we hear a story that leads us to believe there are rules for which we good citizens must abide by, but the same rules don’t seem to apply to governments and financial institutions. We read this week that Spain's controversial ‘bad bank’ Sareb has acquired a number of ‘bad-performing’ apartment blocks in Tarragona, Alicante and Mallorca, with the objective of turning them into successful holiday rentals.  

Ironic, considering that Mallorca has stopped issuing licences to holiday apartments. We just hope that these properties will be made to follow the same procedures of application for their tourist apartment or holiday home licence, as the rest of the holiday rentals industry. 

No more free Wifi on Calpe's beaches, at least not through Gowex!

Just last summer, we reported that Calpe's beaches got free Wifi connection, thanks to the Wifi operator Let’s Gowex. This week, Let’s Gowex are once again in the news, but this time nobody is applauding their initiative, as they file for bankruptcy and admit to falsifying the company accounts for at least the last four years.  

Claims were highlighted last week that at least 90% of their accounts were false and their shares worthless. Within days, Jenaro Garcia Martin, the company’s CEO, had resigned and the claims substantiated. Let’s Gowex was hailed as one of Spain’s brightest ‘new technology’ stars, one of the few Spanish high-tech success stories. floating on the MAB, the Madrid Alternative Stock Exchange and the NYSE Alternext. 

And then there’s the good news!

We reported last week that Spanish tourism records were broken during the month of May, with 6.1 million visitors taking their holiday in Spain. In total Spain has received over 21 million visitors this year. Great news all round. And even better news to come, as the European Union’s statistics agency, Eurostat, published a report on the travel trends of EU holidaymakers and business travellers in 2012. Spain was voted as the top destination for outbound trips by other EU member countries. Residents from eleven EU member states chose Spain as their number one holiday destination. Meanwhile, 92% of Spanish travellers stayed in Spain for their holidays, second only to the Romanian domestic travel market (95%).  

Spain freezes airport tariffs

In an effort to boost air traffic to Spain, the government has pledged to freeze airport tariffs until 2025. Flight prices to Spain have incurred increasingly high costs in the last few years, which have made flights less than competitive compared to budget flights to other destinations in  Europe. The announcement was made just weeks after the government put 28% of the Spanish airport operator, AENA up for sale on the public stock market, and is looking to sell an additional 21% to longer term investors. The freeze on airport tariffs should ultimately make AENA more competitive on the international circuit and a more attractive long-term investment. 

We’re more interested about the benefits for visitors to Spain. Better priced flights, means more holidaymakers and more holiday rentals bookings. Keep an eye on flight costs to your local airport. Let us know if you see prices looking more competitive.