YESTERDAY was the first occasion since its introduction some 17 months ago, that paying the tourist tax was no longer necessary. The decision in favour of its repeal was applauded by tourists along the Playa de Palma. The controversial levy had generated some 42 million euros whilst in force between 1st May, 2002 and 25th May this year (the date of local elections).
Visitors who were interviewed yesterday, agreed that the tourist shouldn't bear the responsibility of paying a tax aimed at environmental improvement. They also expressed doubts about how the funds, collected from hotels were managed.
Doctor Rouer and Valeri Röhrig from Frankfurt in Germany were visiting Majorca for the first time but they had been witness to much controversial argument surrounding the tourist tax. They declared that there are enough taxes. Dr Rouer felt that there were too many people in Majorca, money circulates on the Island, something that can be seen at a glance. Why don't the hoteliers or company heads pay the tax? No doubt they could.
Evaristo Gucida and Josefa González didn't realise the tourist tax had been repealed. We had decided not to come to Majorca again, and that is after coming here at least once or twice every year. We have been appalled at having to pay the tax. It's nothing to do with the amount of money because it's only a small amount. What really offends us is that it is collected from visitors who had believed that they were welcome here. When Evaristo and Josefa were told that the tax had been repealed, their attitude changed: Well, in that case, we will go on coming to the island, they said.
Fausto Jurado, from the Las Maravillas restaurant, said of the tourist tax: It has been very unpopular and has had very bad Press. I think it's just fine that the tax has been repealed because it has never been well received.
The Horenburg family, from the city of Bochum in Germany, was convinced that the tourist tax had been ill conceived. We believe that it should be the hotel owners who should pay taxes related to environmental improvement, not the tourists. Of course, we are delighted about its repeal.
Julio Fernández and his wife are both from La Barquera in Cantabria. We also live in a tourist area. We've recently had a water treatment plant built nearby because with the quantity of people passing through, the area has to make sure there's enough water to go round. Residents weren't very happy, however, that local people should shoulder the costs of improvements from which visitors will benefit. Having said that, we believe that the tourist tax on Majorca should have been charged to the hoteliers who are the people that get the most profit out of the tourist industry.
The Van den Hof family from Holland, were also quite clear in their views on the tourist tax: We don't know what becomes of the money or where it goes. We don't mind paying the tax because it's only a small amount. What concerns us is that the money should be used for the purposes for which it is declared. The tourist, having no way of exerting any kind of control, cannot be guaranteed that the funds are put to good use.
It is the fifth time that José Delgado and Vicenta, from San Sebastián, have come on holiday to Majorca. They spoke unequivocably on the subject of the tourist tax. It was a shameful tax; it had a begging' quality to it that gave a very bad impression. It harked back to an era when travellers had to pay one real when visiting another town. Doubts about where the money went to were voiced once again: Do you think this money is going to go to the good of the island? In any event, I don't see any difference between Majorca in the days of the Tourist tax and the image it presents today.