The complete draft of the tourist tax was made public yesterday and the plan had yet another surprise in store. Not only will tourists have to pay the levy, which could work out as much as around 270 pesetas day or two Euros, but also Balearic residents staying at local hotels and apartments will have to pay the tax. Now all the representatives from the hotel sector and Insular Councils have a copy of the draft and, in collaboration with the Balearic government, the three parties are expected to now set about reaching a final draft and establishing the tax rates. The levy is expected to start at one Euro and increase depending on the quality of the accomodation. The Balearic minister for Tourism, Celesti Alomar and the Minister for Finance, Joan Mesquida, presented the draft yesterday and Alomar proclaimed the tourist tax as “the key to tourism in the 21st century.” Alomar went a step further, despite the massive level of opposition to the tax on the domestic and international fronts, claimed that other autonomous regions in Spain will soon follow the Balearic's example. Money raised from the tax will be invested in an environmental rehabilitation fund and, in turn, will be used for the renovation of tourist resorts and the recuperation of natural parks. Alomar said “for the first time the interests of the tourist industry and society will coincide” adding that the tourist tax will raise around 12'000 million pesetas a year. In response to fears that the tourist tax will make the Balearics less competitive, Alomar believes that the opposite will happen and that the tax will also help improve the quality of life for people living on the islands. Residents having to pay the tax when staying in hotels and apartments is the government's way of getting around the legal issue surrounding the tax and a way of avoiding being accused of discrimination.


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