New Hotel Construction Halted in Canary Islands

13/03/2014 – El Pais

In the Canary Islands, construction of new hotels on plots qualified as tourist ground has been halted. The Constitutional Court of Spain has launched a trial on constitutional challenge brought about by the Council of Ministers against the tourist law in the Canaries´Archipelago that allowed construction of 5-star hotels excusively.

The Spanish Government reckons that “this is a market shutdown” that “restricts freedom of enterprise”. Therefore it invoked to the Article 161.2 of the local Constitution that empowers the Government to “take legal measures against decisions or provisions of the Autonomous Communities of Spain”. From that moment on, the law remains suspended. (…).

According to Enrique Hernández Bento from the Governmental Industry Department, Spain sought setting free hotel construction “from one to five stars”, while the Constitutional Court was taking decisions on lawfulness of five-star hotel construction limitation on new tourist grounds. (…) The more that “over 200.000 hotel places could be renovated and improved within the Canary Islands”. (…).

Demand for 4-star hotels is high, especially on the Tenerife island. The prohibition of hotel construction below five-star luxury rating is being defended by intention to “level out the competition in the Archipelago”. (…).

Local Council does not give up though and next week it will propose a rule that each island could specify its “touristic product” (5-star, 4-star hotels or other) (…).

Last year, around 10.6 million tourists visted the Canary Islands. In reference to the 2012 performance, tourism made 29.6% of the Canaries´GDP and created more than 34% of all work places. Moreover, this sector allowed shedding 30% of tax indebtedness of the Islands.

 

 

Original article: El País (Txema Santana)

Translation: AURA REE

70