Officials in Madrid are following Valencia and Mallorca’s lead by introducing new regulations on private holiday lets, in a bid to curb over-tourism in the city.

Spain’s tourism sector has a hugely positive impact on the country’s economy, accounting for 11% of total Spanish GDP in 2017. Last year alone, Madrid welcomed around 6.7 million international visitors – 3.7 million more than in 2001 – and with more tourists not only visiting but staying in the city, locals are fearful that they are being priced out of their own neighbourhoods when it comes to renting property.

Secretary for sustainable urban planning José Manuel Calvo has disclosed proposed regulations which will impose restrictions on holiday rental properties including the amount of days they can be rented out to tourists; the new regulations would prevent apartments being rented out to tourists for more than 90 days of the year and apartment blocks which are used solely as holiday lets will not be able to do so unless they have the necessary hotel licence, reports CNN Travel.

Apartments in the city centre will have more regulations to adhere to; apartments booked through Airbnb (one of the most popular private holiday home rental websites) will have to have their own entrance, separate from the one used by residents living permanently in the building – this alone would have a significant effect on the number of existing rentals on the portal and, with owners unlikely to be able to meet the stipulation, would ‘free-up’ properties, forcing them to consider the long-let market instead.

However, Airbnb are adamant that “home-sharing on Airbnb is helping local families afford their homes and rising living costs, while boosting the local economy,” the company told CNN Travel in a statement.

“It is part of the solution to local housing concerns in cities, and is helping put tourism euros in the pockets of local families — not just wealthy hotel groups. ”

According to a recent report by Airbnb, the “entire home listings, booked for more than 90 nights in 2017 represented just 0.3% of the total housing stock in Madrid,” reported CNN Travel.

Madrid is not the first city to propose such measures; in Valencia, officials have proposed restrictions on private holiday rental properties, limiting them to lower floor levels only and no new rentals will be allowed in the historic old town. Meanwhile in Palma, Mallaorca, a total ban was enforced on holiday apartment rentals.

“It’s good to see destinations finally listening to residents and taking more control over how the tourism industry develops, working to avoid over-tourism,” Justin Francis, CEO and founder of Responsible Travel, told CNN Travel.

“If there’s to be a responsible future for tourism in these cities then we have to put an end to the mentality of ‘growth at all costs’ and start measuring the success of tourism through the use of other indicators that are based much more firmly around the benefits to local communities,” he concluded.

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