02-05-2002S.A.

The tourist industry at home and overseas breathed a sigh of relief yesterday when it was announced that the reintroduction of the tourist tax is being put on the back burner. The new Balearic Minister for Tourism, Biel Barcelo, the leader of the eco-nationalist party Més, explained yesterday that, despite the fact that each of the three parties in the left wing coalition have different ideas of how to  reintroduce the tourist tax, for the time being the new levy is going to put on hold.
It would appear that the new administration has learnt its lessons from the previous tourist tax introduced by the last left wing coalition to govern the Balearics. It was an unmitigated disaster and did the region’s image a great deal of harm, and caused much controversy because it was only charged to hotel and registered apartment guests.
The new President of the Balearics, Francina Armengol, was part of that coalition government, she was the President of the Council of Majorca, while Barcelo, then leader of the PSM, also had a role in the coalition.
However, this time around, it has been agreed that until  the holiday let market has been properly regulated, then the tourist tax will remain on hold because the government wants every tourist  coming to the Balearics to be charged the tax, they do not want a discriminatory tax like the one introduced last time around.
But, in order  for  there to be no loop holes, the government and Ministry for Tourism have  agreed that proper order has to be installed in the holiday rental market.
But, there are concerns that the Balearics could follow the example of Barcelona.
Barcelona’s new Mayor, Ada Colau, has suspended licenses for tourist accommodation in Barcelona while City Hall conducts an “in-depth analysis” of the sector as the councils sets about regulating the sector.
The licenses cover a variety of lodgings such as hotels, hostels, bed and breakfasts and tourist apartments.
Colau, 41, an anti-eviction activist and one of the leading lights of the Indigandos protest movement who swept to power in May, had promised to tackle the issue of controlling mass tourism to the Catalan capital. 

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