Mallorca and Ibiza Crack Down on Airbnb Rentals to Curb Tourist Numbers

Playa de Palma

Playa de Palma


The  islands of Mallorca and Ibiza have long welcomed hoards of travelers from across Europe and beyond. But recently, both destinations—like many places across the continent—have begun to struggle under the strain of a swelling number of tourists. And now, in an attempt to curb the masses, Spain’s Balearic Islands have issued a crackdown on illegal apartment rentals and home-sharing sites like Airbnb. 

As a continued backlash against tourists sweeps through Spain, landlords across the Balearic Islands will now be fined up to 40,000 euros if they rent an apartment without the appropriate license. Furthermore, the Spanish edition of The Local reports that in Mallorca and Ibiza, the number of “tourist beds” has now been capped at a combined 623,624 in an effort to curb the number of visitors. If Airbnb or similar home-sharing sites advertise unlicensed rentals, they, too, could be slapped with a hefty fine. (Locals will even be able to report rentals they suspect of breaking the rules through a new website.) Of the decision, the region's tourism chief Biel Barcelo has said: "We want balanced and sustainable tourism so that it can keep being our lead economic activity for many years to come."

Airbnb, meanwhile, commented that the new regulations were confusing, going on to say in a statement, "By working together, we can help build sustainable tourism models that spread benefits to many—not keep them in the hands of a few." 

The move comes after the Balearic Islands reportedly saw more visitors than anywhere else in the country this summer, with rental prices in Mallorca soaring by 40 percent and Ibiza now home to one Airbnb apartment for every 30 residents. (Though landlords in the region have been required to obtain a license for holiday rentals since 2012, it has been largely unenforced until now.) The crackdown is a blow for Airbnb, which has seen numerous cities do the same: In Barcelona, the company was fined $65,000 for breaching laws. The Balearic Government has also implemented an eco-tax over the last few years, to help make tourism more sustainable (and potentially deter boozy holiday-makers).

Horia Mainescu