Ibiza's Town Council has implemented a new law which will severely restrict the use of Airbnb and similar holiday accommodation platforms.
According to reports by Spanish paper El Confidencial, the restrictions will be put into effect in time for the busy summer season. In recent years, enormous demand during the summer months has resulted in seasonal workers and other professionals on the island being unable to find or afford accommodation because it is all taken by tourists.
Reports have found that some professionals have been forced to live out of vehicles or in otherwise unsuitable or cramped accommodation during the hectic summer season when the island, and particularly the capital Ibiza Town, becomes what has been described as “a real estate jungle”. Last year, the town of Santa Eulària des Riu on the south east coast of the island implement similar measures that effectively banned short-term leasing websites like Airbnb.
"The arrival of digital platforms has created an unsustainable situation,” said the Councillor for tourism in Ibiza Town Vicente Torres. As reported in The Mirror, he went on to say, "The relatively recent arrival of online platforms has already created an unsustainable situation.
“What we saw in summer 2017 was not positive for anybody, therefore we want to see rented accommodation priced for long-term residents, not short-term tourists."
A unanimous vote by the island’s town councils established that, apart from a few districts on the island that will allow single-family villas to be rented out on a short term basis, only places that already officially qualified as tourist land (i.e. hotels) should be made available for short-term visitors to the island.
In August 2017, the new Balearic Tourism Law made it so that private owners could be fined up to £40,000 for illegally renting their homes to tourists, while businesses such as Airbnb could be fined as much as £400,000.
While the local councils have acknowledged that these measures will not immediately solve the accommodation issues in Ibiza – many have still been offering spaces on Airbnb – it is hoped that it is a step in the right direction and away from unaffordable, unrealistic pricing. A spokesperson from Santa Eulària des Riu said, "It is an important step to fighting this plague."
Airbnb have since issued a statement which said, “We want to work with officials in Ibiza on common sense rules that help local families benefit from tourism in their communities - not just hotels.
“Airbnb accounts for less than 5 percent of visitors to Ibiza and boosts the Balearics economy by more than half a billion euros - money that typically stays with local families and business."
According to Hoppa travel operator, Ibiza is the eighth most expensive tourist destination in the world, with visitors needing approx £289 a day to get by.
This is by no means the first issue Ibiza has faced in recent times as a result of its enormous culture of club tourism. Last year, clubs were threatened with closure if they exceeded new noise limitations while another law implemented last year sought to limit the number of tourists that visit the island altogether.