“We want your help. We want your help to improve Majorca and also to protect the environment and the beauty of these islands...” This is what the Balearic m,inister for tourism, Biel Barcelo, said yesterday when I asked him to make an appeal to tourists regarding the now infamous tourist tax his government wants to introduce for next summer. Barcelo admitted that the funding dispute with Madrid was one of the reasons that they had been forced to introduce the tax but he also said that the “carbon footprint” from tourism was starting to take its toll on the island and money was needed to protect the environment after years of tourism. He said that the tax would represent just 1.7 per cent of the cost of a holiday to Majorca. I must admit I was impressed with our minister for tourism. He made a good case for the tourist tax, and while I still disagree that holidaymakers should pay a surcharge just to come on holiday here, I do agree that the additional funds that the tax will raise will mean better resorts and also a better environment. Barcelo also said that children would not pay the surcharge. Now, there are already warnings from the tour operators and the hoteliers about how the tax will impact on the tourist industry. I would urge them to work together with the local ministry for tourism. Barcelo made it very clear: the tourist tax will be going ahead and therefore everyone must sing from the same hym sheet for the good of the Balearics.
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