It was a small protest, but for once owners of tourist-rental flats in Barcelona made their voices heard, reports the Spanish tourism industry news website O2B.com. A group of Barcelona property owners chanted slogans against “the dominance and power of hotels in deciding tourism policies in the city” outside Barcelona’s Palace Hotel as Jordi Clos, President of the Association of Hotel Owners, sat inside.
Owners of tourist-rental flats in Barcelona complain that the local Government, led by Xavier Trias of the CiU party, discriminates against legally registered tourist rentals with licences in favour of the hotel industry, which has a powerful lobby.
The protest put a damper on the day for Clos, who owns the Derby hotel chain, and who the protesters accuse of influencing the cities tourism policies in his own interests. Clos has opened four hotels in Barcelona in the last year, and probably does not welcome the competition posed by tourist rental apartments, which largely appeal to families and groups of young people.
Short-stay rental investors argue that city council policies are stacked in favour of the hotel business. Recent regulations introduce various obstacles to tourist rental flats, and a two-year moratorium on new licences. By 2019 all tourist rentals must be grouped in dedicated buildings.
The president of the hotel owners association, Jordi Clos, reportedly said he has never been against the holiday let sector, and has always defended the legality and professionalism in the sector.
Photo credit: 02b.com