Further reform of tourism legislation is scheduled to come into effect before next summer. A key aspect of it will be a 50% increase in fines. The tourism director-general, Antoni Sansó, says that fines are the only way of ensuring compliance with regulations, such as those with regard to holiday rentals.
One of the latest areas for potential breaches has to do with the presentation of information when applying for a holiday rental licence. If this information is false, an owner can be fined. The same goes for other types of application, be this for accommodation of one type of another or for hire cars.
Sansó adds that reform of the legislation will address legal vacuums contained in the 2012 law and which have given rise to problems. Among these are the offer of accommodation in youth hostels, refuges and motor homes and on boats.
With youth hostels, for instance, these should be just that. However, the legal vacuum implies that general tourist accommodation can be offered when it should not be. "Everyone," suggests Sansó, "tries to cheat in providing accommodation to tourists. With the reform, this will be impossible."
The fines are therefore going to start at 6,000 and go up to 60,000 euros for individuals. These will apply, for example, to owners who breach holiday rentals legislation and to ones who present false claims when applying for licences. The higher range of fines - from 60,000 to 600,000 euros - will be for businesses, such as accommodation websites.
The reform that the government has in mind will be in the form of a new tourism law. To date, it has just tweaked existing legislation. The draft text of the law is expected to be put out to public consultation next month.