Balearic President Francesc Antich, accompanied by the regional Minister for Tourism, Celesti Alomar, yesterday outlined the environmental and social benefits of the tourist tax which comes into effect next Wednesday. Opening a conference on the “tourist tax and social cohesion” Antich said that the tax is a vital part of the local government's policy to create a region with social and environmental stability. Alomar, who later yesterday set off for Germany where he will address the social democrat and green parties as well as the consumer association about the tax, told the unions that the projects which will be funded by the tax, will help to create jobs, both temporary and full time, “which in turn will lead to an increase in the quality of living for the public.” Alomar also claimed that the hotel sector, which has been adamantly opposed to the tax, has “changed its attitude” and given up its offensive against the government. Alomar said that the Balearics needs the help of German consumer associations to get across to consumers the positive aspects of the tax and that the Balearics is grateful to all Germans visiting the Balearics for their small contribution which will help to improve their holidays. Both Antich and Alomar however, were on safe ground, the unions have supported the tax from the very start. Lorenzo Bravo, secretary general of the UGT, general workers union, said “for years the union has been warning that while tourism creates wealth at the same time it also causes problems for the region's infrastructure and natural resources.” Bravo believes that the Balearic government' tax model is a “good system for the redistribution of wealth.” There was no mention though of thanking the British tourists for their small contribution.


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