The head of the Majorcan Tourist Board and the Majorcan hoteliers yesterday vented their anger over Antich's announcement that the tourist tax will be introduced next season and will be collected by the hotel sector. Tourist board chief Miquel Vicens described the manner in which the tax is to be collected as “discriminatory” and threatened to take the issue to court. The Balearic government was also threatened with legal action by the President of the Majorcan Hoteliers Association, Pere Cañellas, who also repeated that the hotel sector does not want to have anything to do with the tax. Cañellas warned that his organisation will take legal action if necessary in order to prevent the levy from being introduced. “We intend to do all we can to oppose the tax,” Cañellas said, adding that the hotel sector considers the tax “absolutely negative.” The Hoteliers Association has 900 members which represent 80 per cent of the island's hotel sector and Cañellas said that all of its members are “surprised” at the government's decision, which they learnt about in the press and reminded Antich that he promised the hoteliers three months ago that he would keep them well informed about developments concerning the tax. Cañellas slammed the tax as “completely unfair” because it is not just tourists who use the environment. What is more Cañellas pointed out that Majorca's hotels do not accommodate all the island's visitors, he said between 30 and 35 per cent stay in alternative accommodation and therefore will skip paying the tax. Miguel Vicens believes that any form of new tax goes against the spirit of free movement of people in the European Union. The head of the Majorcan Tourist Board is also deeply concerned that the Balearics will lose some of its competitiveness in the global tourist market. While the tourist board does not wholly disagree with raising money to protect the environment, it advocates that tourists should not be held solely responsible and that Balearic residents should also be made to contribute. Vicens echoed the feelings of the hotel sector, pointing out that hotels do not account for all the tourist which come to the region and that if the tax is to be introduced then every tourist should be made to pay.


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