Some have said that PR's provide a valuable service and are often the "go-to" person on the street for directions when the tourist information is closed. For many establishments, the PR can make or break their business as it is a way of attracting people to their premises due to their off the main street location or surrounding competition. But as with all positives, there are always some negatives and some people have found certain PR's to be impolite, rude and an unwelcome addition to their holiday.
There are far too many questions to answer on this subject and like most things, some laws are enforced and others sometimes relaxed so to best tackle this topic, lets stick to the facts and the law as it currently stands and would advise each establishment or PR to seek their own legal advice in order to avoid getting caught out.
Here to Stay
Public Relations Agents are a regular fixture of the streets of popular resorts and their mission is to promote the establishment they work for and to encourage new people to give it a try. In some areas, specific laws were created to manage the way in which companies and their agents conduct not only themselves but also their publicity campaigns and marketing. There could be various reasons behind this, such as the environment (discouraging litter but at the same time encouraging the use of recyclable paper), not bothering people during rest periods like siesta or the negative impact excessive publicity may have on the tourist sector.
In the municipality of La Oliva for example, a series of complaints from tourists who felt harassed by certain PR’s sparked a crackdown that saw the Town Hall virtually ban them from our streets back in 2008. In this article, we will focus more on La Oliva due to the various queries received by readers in that area. Local regulations were published in the Official Bulletin of the Province of Las Palmas (Boletín Oficial de la Provincia de Las Palmas) No. 16, 6th February 2002, directed at companies who use the following publicity methods:
- Manual publicity: Handing out flyers and other printed materials without charge
- Door-to-door: Delivering flyers directly to people’s letter boxes
- By means of vehicles: Using audiovisual elements on stationary or moving vehicles
- Oral: With the use of microphones, megaphones and other aids
However, there are restrictions and some of the most noteworthy are as follows:
- It is strictly prohibited to carry out any of the above activities on beaches and any other public area located along the maritime perimeter
- Publicity cannot be placed in any shape or form on parked vehicles
- It is strictly prohibited to place other complementary elements or structures (such as A-boards) on the roads, pavements or other public areas
- All promotional activities are subject to prior authorization from the Town Hall
The 2002 law was later amended in 2013 under the Official Bulletin of the Province of Las Palmas No. 45, 8th April and one critical point to highlight can be found under Article 12 where it states, “it is strictly prohibited to hand out publicity (flyers, programs, brochures, stickers etc) on public areas or to put said publications under the windscreen wipers of vehicles or similar methods”.
This directly affects many PR’s currently operating on the street as this is the best way of ensuring new customers remember the name of the venue, its location etc.
Any company that wishes to employ a PR must first apply for a permit and along with the requested paperwork that identifies the company the PRs etc, they must also detail the days in which publicity will be distributed, the schedule and area. The monthly charge for a permit in La Oliva amounts to 230 Euros per agent, which is payable by bank transfer to the Town Hall. These agents would then be issued with an ID card, which should be visible at all times. Of course, as with most laws, penalties arise if they are not followed and this is no exception. Violations are categorized as mild, serious and very serious with a maximum fine of just over 600,000 Euros depending on the severity of the infraction.
I would recommend reading through the rest of the regulations yourselves to make sure you are following the Town Hall’s indications and if you live outside of La Oliva, it would be wise to find out whether there are similar laws in your area.