The Balearic government moved quickly yesterday to quash claims that the coalition has been rocked by in-fighting over the first 14 tourist tax projects announced on Wednesday. Government spokesperson Antoni Garcías, categorically denied any discrepancies. “The cabinet is unanimously in favour of the first 14 projects,” he said, adding that they are only half of the total number of tourist tax-funded initiatives planned for the next three years. Antoni Garcías said that the government has yet to unveil the projects for Minorca, Ibiza and Formentera, adding that there are even more projects for Majorca on the drawing board. The government has come under fire from certain sections of the agricultural and environmental worlds, but Garcias said “there are certain sectors hoping that with the tourist tax, their problems could be solved sooner rather than later,” hence why they are calling for the funding to be channelled into projects in which they have vested interests. Garcias explained that all of the 14 projects, which were studied and approved by the Tourist Tax Advisory and Technical Commission, were elected in order to provide a balanced pictures of how tourist tax money will be used, with projects being chosen from each of the five key areas the Balearic government intends to tackle with the extra funding. “Everybody wants now and a slice of the action,” Garcias said, but people are going to have to wait while the local councils, industry, social organisations etc. submit their projects for consideration and approval. The government spokesperson said that, as far as he is concerned, all of the projects “clearly meet the objectives of the tourist tax - combining the improvement of tourist resorts with the protection of the environment, creating a sustainable agricultural sector and reviving the region's heritage and culture.” Garcias was also keen to point out that many of the problems the government will use the controversial tax funds to solve, are problems which should have been addressed during the 16 years the conservative Partido Popular party was in power. The president of the Spanish Association of Travel Agents, Julio González Soria, warned yesterday that the tax will damage the Balearics' domestic image and that a negative effect on the Spanish market has already been witnessed over the past ten days. He said that while his sector fully supports the protection of the environment, it does not approve of the way the tax has been introduced.


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