The State Government's Plan Renove (Renewal Plan) has now come into force to help small and medium businesses carry out improvements with the ultimate aim of modernising the older tourist destinations, such as Menorca. Some 400 million euros will be made available for loans nationwide under the scheme.
The plan is intended for companies offering tourist accommodation, such as hotels or apartments, or complementary tourist activities, as well as catering outlets and travel agents, who want to modernise or refurbish their establishments. A maximum of 90% of the net cost of the project can be financed by the loan and the maximum limit depends on the repayment term chosen by the beneficiary. Although the State is making this money available at 0% the credit companies will charge the borrower 1.5% interest. The repayment term will depend on the sum borrowed and whether or not the beneficiary opts for an interest-free and repayment-free period to be included.
Preference will be given to those investments which will "increase the added value of the product" such as: changes to establishments which will improve their sustainability, for example by saving energy or environmental conservation; investments connected with the introduction of systems of quality; improved accessibility; or the installation of new technology.
According to the Government the plan will meet the needs of the sector and will work towards improving the equilibrium between tourism and the environment.
According to the Menorca Hoteliers' Association, ASHOME, many companies in Menorca have delayed their planned alterations, waiting until the plan came into force. Some larger projects will now be held in abeyance until the end of the tourist season and it will be the owners of bars and restaurants who become the first beneficiaries of the scheme.
Both the Balearic Government and the Island Council of Menorca have introduced helplines to make the procedure easier for the companies.
Catering in apartments
ASHOME would like the Balearic Government to allow tourist apartments to cater for their clients. At present they cannont provide meals unless they have their own catering service which is rare in Menorca.
The Menorca Hoteliers' Association would like the apartment complexes to utilise the Renewal Plan to carry out alterations which would then enable them to offer meals to their guests. This would then increase the options open to the tourists: instead of only being able to offer accommodation, they could provide bed and breakfast, half board or even full board.
Recent statistics have shown that establishments offering restaurant services have seen less of a decrease in numbers than self-catering accommodation.
The President of ASHOME, Joan Melis, explained that this would increase the range of choices tour operators could offer their customers and thus increase the possibility that tourists would choose Menorca for their holidays.