Staff reporter
THE tourist tax, introduced by the previous left-wing coalition who governed the Balearics between 1999 and 2003, will be finally scrapped this month following official Parliamentary approval. The Balearic president, Jaume Matas, leader of the Popular Party on the Islands, was speaking to journalists following a meeting in Madrid with the Minister of Employment and Social Affairs, Eduardo Zaplana. The subject of their discussions included emergency assistance for the aged and infirm, accessibility for the disabled and the building of residential homes for those who needed specialist care in the Balearics. Matas pointed to the fact that since having taken up office more than one hundred days ago, he has managed to repair what he described as the damage that had been inflicted by the previous government “which had been the cause of serious economic confrontation and social fiasco”. He emphasized the lengths to which his new government had had to go to “rebuild broken bridges, finally creating a climate of optimism now looking to the future”.

Within the tourist industry, the principal driving force of the Balearic economy, the new government had begun to open dialogue with all affected sectors, hoteliers and unions alike. The consensus of their views led to the proposal that the tourist tax, “a tax which has disadvantaged us so greatly in the last few years”, be legally repealed. “I am now in a position to announce that before the end of the month, the Balearic parliament is going to approve the repeal of the tourist tax”, declared Matas. When the new law is signed and sealed, the tax will no longer be collected.
Officially referred to as a “tax on stays in tourist accommodation”, the tourist tax, was introduced by the coalition as a means of collecting funds to be diverted towards conservation projects. It became law in May of 2002 in spite of stiff opposition from the hotel sector and in spite of resources already made available by central government.
The administration of the tax had entailed the collection of one euro per day from each visitor staying in hotels on the Islands.
The Balearic government had planned to collect some 60 million euros a year (some 10'000 million pesetas), to allocate to the environmental improvement of tourist areas and natural habitats.

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