The proposed Tourist Tax has given rise to heated debate.
My wife and I live on Majorca, where we own a property, for six months of the year. Here we pay all our local taxes as residents, so we are not directly affected by the imposition of the new tax. However, I am opposed to its introduction for two reasons.
Over the past 50 years tourism has been the making of these islands. It has brought wealth and prosperity to the indigenous population on an incredible scale making the Balearics the richest province in Spain and still the provincial government wants to extract more from the tourists. Surely by intelligent budgeting, spending less on hare-brained unnecessary road scheme, the funds could be found to cover this eco-tax without penalising the tourists?
The rubbish problems are not confined to tourists, they being largely the product of an increasingly affluent society. Any resident can take a visitor to areas where tourists never tread, yet the litter, rubbish and undisposed of junk has to be seen to be believed.
No Tourist has contributed in any way to this mess, it is entirely down to the local population, yet the tourists are to be penalised.
Majorca needs tourists more than tourists need Majorca. The government would do well to remember that you should never bite the hand that feeds you. Yours faithfully
Tourists should be encouraged to use the official complaint forms
What a contrast, the two letters published (5/2) in the Majorca Daily Bulletin, the first from an organisation holiday truths and the other from Brenda Wall of holiday travel watch, the latter trying to justify her earlier letter on people who claim to have suffered appalling holidays abroad... The contradiction between these two organisations on the reports they receive from the travelling public, (and especially in relation to Majorca) is vast. One has to wonder why? Of course there will be genuine complaints, but one sad fact of life in Britain today is the ever growing trend to try and claim money, rightly or wrongly. T.V. adverts constantly press the viewers where there's blame there's a claim and no win - no fee must be very tempting to many.
If Brenda Wall and her organisation is truly interested in improving standards/ services, and highlights faults/problems, they should have at the start of their web site, and at the end in case someone misses it, something like; In Spain at all tourist places such as hotels, bars, restaurants, water parks etc. by the law there is an hoja de reclamaciones an official complaint form. If you feel your complaint is serious enough, ask and insist on receiving one, complete it and the resulting investigation by the authorities will be made. Spain values its tourist industry very much, and establishments found at fault may be fined (sometimes quite heavily) and even on repeat offences, closed. So, it is up to you when actually on holiday to register your protest it will have the most effect. It can be written in your own language.
For me, and no doubt many others, it makes much more sense to register an official complaint at the source, when it happens, rather than press a claim when back in one's home country. I wonder how many would take this route? In fact, it might be a good idea if Brenda Wall through holiday watch to insist that in order to publicise claims by the general public, they need to see such an official complaint form registered/lodged. It would also serve as an authentic complaint, and sort the wheat from the chaff.
Thinking of starting a different tourist tax
It usually starts with a phone call out of the blue. I've got a cheap flight and I'm over for a short stay next week - any chance of a bed for a few days? How many times has this happened to those who live and work here in the Majorcan sunshine?
Last February a friend of mine of over 30 years turned up and was chauffered from the airport to stay for a while. We reminisced about fading memories over a 6-pack and the following day set out our schedule.
Well, the obligation to show friends the hidden beauty of Majorca is a great draw and after seven days of wining and dining and those trips to places that tourists do not find (a great cliché of ever there was one!) the whole affair drew to a thankful close.
We ushered him to the check-in, made sure he had his passport and bags and the flight was on time.
We were there nearly two hours early.
A few days later, the phone rang again, out of the blue.
The same friend had got home safely and was planning another trip over at Whitsun. He continued that he had found Majorca so friendly and reasonable and that the travel company would fix him up with another cheap flight.
He finished by saying all this was possible because he had only spent half his holiday money on his first visit.
The phone went dead, I guess he had run out of credits.
I'm thinking of starting a slightly different tourist tax.
Park and walk, the healthy option
As a medical man you would not be surprised to find me commenting on two of the main causes of disease in modern civilisations. I refer to obesity and lack of exercise.
There has been much talk about traffic in Palma and elsewhere and much opinion expressed about parking facilities and log jam. It seems to me that the government should encourage the use and sale of cars for the following reasons:-
a)Parking anywhere near where you want to go would become the improbable.
b)Revenue from petrol tax would go up as people looked for the improbable.
The result would be that people would have to park further and further away from their destination and forced to walk, (sometimes briskly, because they were late)...thus reducing their weight and taking very necessary exercise. They would feel better and be much healthier.
Councils would benefit by making it cheaper to park in the centre than in the periphery!
The savings to the health service I submit, would be considerable, and the pressure on hospitals much reduced.
In fact everyone would benefit. What more can one ask?