The Director of the Spanish Tourist Office in Milan introduced Enrique Baron, right, at last night's lecture.

There are still widespread reservations about the proposed introduction of a tourist tax in the Balearics. Ignacio Vasallo, the dircetor of the Spanish Tourist Office in Milan, who introduced the President of the European Parliamentary Socialist Group, Enrique Baron, at last night's Club Ultima Hora lecture, said that the ideal solution would be to increase the cost of holidays during the peak months, with the aim being to make the tourist sector more profitable while simultaneously keeping environmental damage to a minimum. Vasallo recognises that a tourist tax would make those holidaymakers who consume a higher than average level of natural resources, and who spend very little in the Balearics, contribute to the protection and management of the environment. However, he believes that the Balearics can do without such tourists, who in effect can be priced out of the market. Vasallo says that it is a healthy debate for the Balearics to be having, but some five years ago the former Balearic Minister for Tourism and now Senator, Eduardo Gamero, warned that the region needs mass tourism to survive. But while all the experts agree that in theory the tourist tax is a sound idea, the main concerns are about how it will be collected. Former President of the European Parliament, Enrique Baron, says the tourist tax is a “reasonable” idea “providing the funds are re-invested into the infrastructure, such as water and the environment. However, Baron does not agree with the Green Party's proposal to introduce “a ceiling” on the number of tourists.


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