This is my translation of the press release that was issued to the Spanish media for today’s meeting:
In respect of the so-called “Special touristic action plan of inspection and control of establishments or accommodation units and the diagnosis of places exploited touristically without prior communication of starting activity or lacking authorisation” being carried out by the Inspection and Fines Department of the Canarian Government’s Board of Touristic Regulation and Promotion (presidencia)
a meeting has been called on Thursday 15 March 2012 at 10am in the CDTCA Centre in Avda Las Jarcias opposite the IES in El Galeón.
The meeting will present the Association of those affected by the Canarian Tourism Regulation Law (Asociación de afectados por la ley de ordenación de turismo de Canarias) – ALOTCA – and will set out the reasons which have motivated the organizers of the event to create the association.
The above mentioned “action plan” is creating social alarm in Canarian touristic areas given that, according to official sources, more than 7,500 administrative procedures have been opened imposing fines on apartment owners and non-resident family investors, as well as small family businesses, fines ranging from at least €18,000 up to €60,000 in some cases. No family economy can withstand such a level of sanction at the present time.
Although this campaign of sanctions, unprecedented since the passing of Tourism Regulation Law 7/1995, has a commendable objective (control of accommodation units without licence or in irregular situation), it was not preceded by any information campaign and is therefore creating a state of mind among foreign investors that is worrying given the government’s disproportionate punitive level (€18,000 minimum fine for an apartment in an irregular situation).
The existing current legal framework in these islands and the touristic moratorium in the concession of new licences prevents the legalization of these units. In turn, the disappearance, liquidation or insolvency of previous operators of touristic apartments have placed foreign investors and apartment owners in a marginal position without possibility of regularization.
Indeed, the autonomous Government appears to have opted for a protectionist “all inclusive” model of tourism offered in the main by the hotels in the tourist areas, but it has not taken into account that this model is extremely damaging for small family businesses (restaurants, taxis, shops etc.,) which depend on the tourism of those who prefer to rent apartments privately.
For their part, some companies operating with exploitation licences in the touristic apartment market offer their services to owners through contracts with intolerable and abusive conditions since, protected by the unity of exploitation principle, they are operating in a sector of the market that rewards and encourages a monopoly.
In the midst of a global recession and with a property market crisis without precedent in the recent history of these islands, when there are ever decreasing numbers of foreign investors prepared to buy property here, and in an economy that is already suffering, all we needed was a plan of this magnitude (7,500 inspections carried out mainly on the internet) to give such a devastating message to foreigners.
Before this is exposed in the foreign media we need to raise the awareness of the relevant authorities so that they apply the power of the law with restraint and in accordance with the social reality of our islands.
Our association considers that it is possible to seek a consensual solution with the Canarian touristic authorities which will benefit all sectors which are threatened (touristic apartment owners, hoteliers, agencies, taxis, shopkeepers, etc.), and for this reason we have asked them repeatedly to meet us. To date, these requests have been ignored by the administration.
Continuing with this process of fines will produce an unprecedented exodus of investors as well as the desertification of some touristic areas which cannot compete legally with the hotels.
Association of those affected by the Canarian tourism regulation law
Asociación de afectados por la ley de ordenación de turismo de Canarias – ALOTCA