The biggest problem the Balearics and the local government are going to have over the tourist tax is on the home front. For months so much care and attention has been given to foreign markets, Germany in particular, it would appear that the Spanish sector, the Balearics' third biggest tourist market, was forgotten. Yesterday, the President of the Balearic Confederation of Business Assocititons, Josep Oliver, said that the deluge of complaints which have been received from Spanish holidaymakers about the tourist tax is “understandable.” The vast majority of complaints about the tax, which was introduced on Wednesday, has come from the domestic holiday sector, “tourists are logically surprised.” “We don't like the tax and we're eagerly awaiting the decision from the Constitutional Tribunal,” Josep Oliver said. Apart from the appeal lodged against the tax by central government, Olivar said that a number of hoteliers have lodged appeals in the Palma High Court “unfortunately, the courts are very slow so in the meantime we have been left with no option but to cover the costs of the tax in accordance with the law.” Spain's Secretary of State for Tourism and Commerce, Juan Costa, said yesterday that the tax has had a negative effect on the Balearics' key satellite markets “which as it is have lost momentum over the past few years.” Costa believes that the Balearic tourist tax is synonymus with the new PSOE Socialist Party's policies of raising taxes, he has no doubt that “protecting and conserving the environment” is a political excuse to justify charging the tax. “The Partido Popular does nor favour raising taxes, it is trying to reduce taxes and as President of the European Union, one of Spain's objectives is to establish sustainable tourism, but what you cannot do is start raising taxes using this objective as the excuse,” Juan Costa said. The secretary general of Zontur, the Spanish Association of Resorts Hotels, Ramón Estalella, suggested yesterday that the campaign to promote the tourist tax has back fired and has merely served to convince the global tourist industry that the Balearics “have a serious environmental problem.” Ramón Estalella said that this image is one of the main reasons why hotel bookings are down 20 to 35 per cent, Ramón Estalella is convinced that the tourist tax is only responsible for a five per cent decline.


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