Yesterday was Balearic Day at the FITUR international tourism fair in Madrid and, to mark the special day, the Balearic Tourism Minister, Celesti Alomar, announced that the number of tourists who visited the islands last year rose by eight per cent to over ten million - all of whom, and more, in the future will have to pay a tourist tax. The Balearic Chief Minister, Francesc Antich, was at the fair yesderday, leading the Balearic Day promotional celebrations, and announced that the tourist tax has been included in the policies for this year and that it “will improve the tourist market and the environment.” In the build-up to FITUR, the Balearic government came under fire over claims that the money raised from the tourist or eco tax will not solely be re-invested into the environment. Yesterday, however, Antich took the opportunity to explain that funds raised from the tax will be spent on “establishing better quality tourism” which will have a significant and positive effect on the environment. Despite the recent criticism, with the EU United Left party slamming the tourist tax as a “scam”, a confident Antich has done his sums and pointed out yesterday that, when the Balearic parliament comes to vote on the tax, there are 17 MPs in favour and just five against.


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