Balearic President Francesc Antich made the announcement yesterday.

Balearic President Francesc Antich did not waste any time yesterday announcing that the tourist tax will come into force on May 1. Just 24 hours after saying that a final decision will have to be made this week, Antich explained that further attempts to reach a deal on the postponement of the tax until November with the leading tour operators on Monday failed, leaving the Balearic government with no option but to push ahead with the initial plan. Antich said that reaching an accord with the tour operators is “impossible,” adding that his government has been unable to persuade the tour operators to agree to any concessions. Despite Germany's leading tour operators refusing to include the tax in their brochures and package holiday prices, Antich hopes that they will agree to co-operate on collecting the tax and launching joint campaigns with the government to promote the Balearics holiday industry. The demand has been rejected by the Germans on the grounds that it will set a precedent for other destinations and that, on their behalf, money has already been invested on promoting the Balearics as a holiday destination. As far as Antich is concerned, the tax will be applied on May 1 “for sure” and he sees any last minute deal being reached with the tour operators as “impossible,” pointing the finger at the tourist industry for the failure of negotiations to reach a satisfactory conclusion. “The tour operators think the tax is bad news for them and I respect their opinions,” Antich said, adding that he has informed the hotel sector of the government's final decision. The Balearic hotel sector over the weekend said that applying the tourist tax ahead of the summer season will provoke a mass of holiday cancellations. Majorcan Union party secretary, Maximiliá Morales, repeated the party's call for caution and that the tax must be introduced at the “right moment,” which the party believes is not May 1 because of the instability in the tourist industry and the fall in Balearic bookings. The UM was not initially in favour of approving the tax, but as part of the coalition government “has toed the party line.” “But now that the government has made its decision, it's got to start negotiating with the tourist sector,” Morales said.


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