Balearics issue second 300,000 euro fine, this time for TripAdvisor
TripAdvisor, the world’s largest travel site, is being told to cough up a fine of 300,000 euros for advertising illegal holiday lettings in Mallorca and Ibiza.
The sanction has been imposed by the Balearic Government and is the same amount as Airbnb was fined just a few weeks ago for the same reason. It is understood that amount has not yet been paid despite the deadline running out on March 21st.
The Balearic Government is cracking down on illegal holiday lettings ie apartments or villas which do not have a licence to do so as part of the campaign against tourist “saturation” and maintaining standards.
Tourism chiefs on the popular holiday islands say TripAdvisor, like Airbnb, has been advertising holiday homes which don’t have the proper licence on several webpages. In the case of Trip-Advisor, the Balearic Govern-ment says it has taken screen-shots of “at least 25 properties” though “there are more”.
The government has also been warning other holiday rental websites about posting illegal lettings and says most of them have been co-operating by removing them.
The Balearics has tough new rules on which homes can be legally rented under the so-called Law on Tourist Rentals.
The 300,000 euro fine on TripAdvisor was announced by vice president and Tourism Minister, Bel Busquets.
“We have proceeded to sanction them with the same amount as the Airbnb and we have notified them of the fine,” she said.
She confirmed that Airbnb, which was given 15 days on February 19th, has not yet responded. This was the first sanction of its kind imposed by the Balearics.
It is understood Airbnb intends to appeal against the fine, saying it is unjust.
“The laws of the Islands should help to distribute the benefits of tourism between families and the whole community and not keep them in the hands of a few,” said Airbnb. According to Airbnb estimates, the tourist rental injects 500 million euros into the Balearic economy, but the new legislation could mean a loss of 100 million euros.
The political party Po-demos has welcomed the moving, saying it supports the Balearic Government in its “courageous move to ensure compliance with the law.”
They say Mallorca has suffered from a lack of control over holiday rentals to tourists.
The Balearic Government also blames illegal lettings on “tourist saturation” as there are too many private beds being made available to holidaymakers.
Airbnb is no stranger to the threat of fines as Barcelona has taken the same approach.
However, apartment and villa owners in Mallorca, including many Brits, are not happy about the new rules, saying they have to rent them out to tourists to make ends meet, to pay mortgages and community fees.
They claim they are being made the scapegoats when the Balearic Government is res-ponsible for having attracted too many holidaymakers to the island and not having the infrastructure to cope with them.