Business reaction to the announcement is expected to show almost total opposition to the tax. President Armengol has called on the hoteliers to “work together” on what she acknowledges is their “disagreement.” Armengol is insisting that there will be “dialogue with everyone,” but when mostly everyone in the tourism industry takes issue with the tax, how will the disagreements be reversed?
Here are just some of the views that have been expressed by business associations
Carmen Planas, president of CAEB, the Balearic confederation of business associations. The tax would be a “mistake” as it “would reduce the competitiveness of our economy.” The head of CAEB in Minorca, Joan Melis, has said that a tax increase “does not improve the economy or create employment.” For the Ibiza branch, Joan Bufí has observed that “unless it is collected at ports and airports, it will be a totally unfair tax as not everyone will pay. If we consider that there is an illegal accommodation offer of 30 to 40%. what will happen with a tax? It will seem like a punishment for those tourists who stay in traditional establishments.”
Antoni Abrines, the president of Aviba, the Balearic travel agents association, believes that his members will be adversely affected. “The Balearics is a sun-and-beach destination. We are not a destination like a city such as Barcelona. In our case, if a family comes for a week, it will be hit in the pocket and so it is possible that a different destination will be looked for where there isn’t a tax.”
The president of the Balearic Association of Agrotourism, Miquel Artigues, has said that the current tourism boom is one that has been “borrowed” on account of the political situation in other countries. “If we take this into account, we do not believe that the application of a tax will be opportune. What the government should be pursuing is better financing (for the Balearics).” He feels that, if there is to be a tax, it should be invested directly on the environment.
While the views of the Majorcan hoteliers are well known, their counterparts on the other islands are likewise in disagreement. Luis Pablo Casals, the president of the Minorca Hotelier Association, has said that “it is not known what damage will be done.” Nevertheless, he is willing to listen. “We want to study what they present, and we would like that they listen to us and take into account business realities.”
Juanjo Riera for the Ibiza and Formentera Hotelier Federation points out that back in July his federation was voicing its opposition. “We would oppose the regularisation of apartments in residential buildings (for tourist rent) and the eco-tax. Now they want to regulate this tourist use of residential accommodation and apply the eco-tax.”
There are, though, some business sectors which have expressed support
Irene Perelló of Aptur, the association for tourist rentals, says that the association is in favour of the tax and is another which wants it to be directed at the environment. “When people know why they are paying a tax and can see how it will help the environment, then it is much easier to accept.”
The president of the association for small wine producers, Andreu Oliver, believes that the tax is “necessary” in order to compensate for the “public service and environmental cost that is generated by tourism and which is borne by everyone.” Bartomeu Rosselló of the Majorca Business Circle says, from his personal point of view, that he is convinced that tourists will not stop coming because of the tax. He is critical of the stance of the hoteliers. “If large Balearic chains can be distributed worldwide and be in countries, 80% of which have some form of tax, why do they object in their homeland?”