Future of Lanzarote Hotels Still Uncertain
The fate of some of the most popular hotels in Lanzarote still hangs in the balance. After another inconclusive meeting failed to resolve the controversy that erupted in April this year when 22 developments on the island were effectively declared illegal by the Supreme Court of the Canary Islands.
Problems first arose back in 2000, when island authorities implemented a scheme that sought to control construction on the island by setting a limit on the number of new hotels which could be built. The scheme further stipulated that any new hotel given the go ahead had to be of a four or five star standard.
However – councilors in the districts of Yaiza and Teguise – which control two out of three of the islands main holiday resorts effectively ignored this edict. By granting licenses to a number of hotels which contravened these requirements. Whilst also allocating public funds in certain instances.
As a result, eight five star hotels, ten Apart-hotels and four new developments still in the planning and construction stage have been decreed to have flouted an island wide edict designed to ensure controlled construction on Lanzarote. The first island in the word to be declared a UNESCO protected biosphere in 1994.
The central island government –in tandem with the Cesar Manrique Foundation – instigated an action against these two local councils. Which was ultimately upheld by the Supreme Court of the Canary Islands.
Creating the current situation - where 22 hotels are technically illegal, yet still open for business and trading normally. Including such well known names as the Gran Melia Volcan and the Natura Palace in Playa Blanca.
A meeting was held last week involving the the Director of the Environmental Department of the Canarian Government, Don Domingo Berriel, representatives from the affected Ayuntamientos of Teguise and Yaiza and the hoteliers association Asolan. The President of Lanzarote´s central government failed to attend though – so leaving the situation effectively unresolved.
Those in attendance could only concur that that a case by case study was necessary to explore exactly what could be done to bring the hotels in question in line with the requirements for their legalization.
Most island observers believe that the hotels will be granted an amnesty. As demolition will cost thousands of jobs locally and damage Lanzarote´s standing internationally as a popular holiday destination.
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