Guardamar’s tourism tightrope: Balancing tradition and regulation

Guardamar's tourism tightrope: Balancing tradition and regulations.

Guardamar's tourism tightrope: Balancing tradition and regulations. Image: Ajuntament de Guardamar del Segura / Facebook.

Guardamar del Segura Council is sticking to strict rules for tourist apartments, which were set back in 2007 to control how urban land is used.

They only allow single-family homes to be used as tourist apartments, and buildings can only be used for this purpose if the whole block is dedicated to tourist apartments, not for regular homes or holiday homes.

Even though many people have asked for permission to use their properties as tourist apartments, the City Council keeps saying no.

They want to protect the local hotels.

Mayor José Luis Sáez says it’s important to keep Guardamar’s tourism industry special, even though some people and real estate companies want to make money from renting out apartments.

Guardamar has 545 tourist apartments with 2,562 beds that follow these rules, which shows that the rules are working well.

In comparison, Altea, a town with a similar population, stopped giving out new permissions because they saw too many apartments affecting the market.

Guardamar has about the same number of hotel beds as Torrevieja, but it’s clear Guardamar wants to keep its tourism local.

On the flip side, Torrevieja doesn’t have these strict rules, so there are lots of tourist apartments popping up without permission.

The government used to encourage regulated tourist apartments, but now Torrevieja has over 30,000 places, making it the seventh city in Spain with the most regulated places.

Renting out properties online can make a lot of money and bring life back to unused buildings, but it also creates problems, especially in fancy buildings.

Even with the money it could bring in, Guardamar is staying firm on keeping its special tourism identity and helping its local hotels.

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Written by

Anna Ellis

Originally from Derbyshire, Anna has lived in the middle of nowhere on the Costa Blanca for 19 years. She is passionate about her animal family including four dogs and four horses, musicals and cooking.