Spain’s Mallorca hoteliers in the Balearics consider converting hotels into residential homes as tourism collapses amid Covid-19

Many of Mallorca's hoteliers are considering converting their hotels into residential properties to survive the Covid-19 crisis. Credit: ABC Mallorca

MANY of Mallorca’s hoteliers are considering converting their hotels into residential properties to survive the Covid-19 crisis and collapse in tourism.

They are therefore lobbying the government for relevant permissions/licences to convert their hotels into homes, according to property experts.

“Hoteliers in Mallorca want permission to convert obsolete hotels into housing as the collapse in tourism bites hard especially in the Balearics, and exposes the weakness of a sector that has under-invested for decades,” according to Spanish Property Insights’ market analyst, Mark Stücklin.

Although the crisis has hit hotels hard worldwide, the “outlook this year is particularly bleak for hotels in the Balearics, where access is more dependent on air travel, with no chance of getting to the islands by car or train,” confirmed Stücklin. “So, whilst a summer holiday on mainland Spain still looks possible, arriving by car and renting a holiday-home, a break in the Balearics might be harder to pull off.”

Given that it’s highly likely that the tourism season will be a complete write-off this year, Stücklin believes that many of the smaller, family-run hotels in the Balearics, which are highly dependent on tourism could be “forced out of business.” As a significant proportion of the hotel sector in Mallorca has failed to reinvest in the business, many are in desperate need of renovation if they are to “attract discerning tourists” when “holidaymakers start trickling back,” he added.

If not, these hotel businesses are at risk of being wiped out by the Covid-19 pandemic. However, given the lack of good residential housing, many hoteliers are actually considering turning their hotels into residential accommodation instead.

Mallorca’s hotel federation, FEHM, is lobbying the regional government to make it easier for hoteliers to get permission to turn their hotels into residential accommodation. “It’s not the first time we have proposed this possibility, but now that we are in this extraordinary situation, it would be a good moment to implement it,” highlighted María Frontera, President of FEHM.

Hoteliers are also reported to be lobbing for investment incentives, tax breaks and reduced red tape to upgrade facilities whilst empty.

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Pepi Sappal

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