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TOURISM NEWS Update THE BALEARICS Rental crackdown to take toll


Some islands are being over-run by tourists


PHILADELPHIA


Hotel capacity ramped up 20%


A crackdown in the Balearic Islands on accommodation rentals via websites such as Airbnb and Homeaway is expected to hit tourist numbers. While the home-sharing sites


have transformed the way many holidaymakers find and book somewhere to stay, the new government of Majorca, Minorca, Ibiza and Formentara says some areas are now over-run by tourists. It claims unchecked tourism has brought with it crowded streets, litter and more drunkenness. It also believes landlords looking


to buy more properties to rent out has artificially inflated prices, making homes unaffordable for local people. In addition, hoteliers say demand for traditional rooms has fallen, hitting their businesses.


RESORT PLANS $10bn investment will put Bahrain on holiday map


Bahrain is laying the groundwork for a tourism boom with 15 hotels and beachfront resorts scheduled to open by the end of the decade. The total investment – estimated


at upwards of $10 billion – will add a string of luxury properties to the island kingdom’s existing hotel stock, boosting the destination’s appeal as a holiday option. New arrivals include brands such


as One&Only, Wyndham, Fairmont, Vida, The Address, Ibis and Pullman - each set to make their entry over the next three years. They will join the destination’s other big names such as the Ritz-Carlton, Four Seasons and Sofitel. Bahrain Economic Development


Board (EDB) CEO Khalid Al Rumaihi said: “They are expected to increase hotel capacity in the country by around 4,000 hotel rooms by 2020, as well as fill the gaps in the market,


18 ISSUE 5 ROUTES NEWS 2017 routesonline.com


especially in the mid-market and luxury sector.” Bahrain’s existing hotel stock


consists of about 190 hotels and resorts offering more than 16,500 rooms, including 18 five-star hotels. The country is investing after enjoying recent rises in tourist


numbers. Visitor figures hit 12.2 million in 2016, a rise of 6% on the previous year. Part of the success has been


attributed to the opening of international representation offices in the UK, France, Germany, India, Saudi Arabia and Russia.


New luxury brands are heading to the destination


Over the next 12 months the islands plan to introduce a licensing scheme for accommodation owners. Anyone found renting out a property illegally via a peer-to-peer site faces a fine of up to ¤400,000. Biel Barcelo, the regional tourism


minister, said the rules simply brought clarity to the current law. “What we are doing is giving judicial certainty. Up until now it has been illegal to let flats to holidaymakers.” Airbnb has vowed to challenge the rules in the European courts. The row comes on the back


of increasing tensions in some European holiday destinations. Locals in Palma and Venice have both staged anti-tourist protests this summer.


Historic US city Philadelphia will have transformed its accommodation sector by the end of 2018 thanks to a raft of hotel openings. This year has already brought the opening of three budget properties and the 179- room Aloft Hotel by Starwood in the Liberty Title and Trust building, with the Fairfield Inn and Suites scheduled for December 2017. Later in 2018, openings will also include Starwood’s new dual- branded W and Element Hotels, which will add 755 rooms across the two properties, and the luxury Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia, which is situated at the top of the new 60-storey Comcast Innovation and Technology Centre and offers sky-high views of the city. In total, the new openings boost hotel stock in the city by 20%.


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