12-02-2012G. ALOMAR

In Barcelona, where cruise-ship passengers pay the Catalonia top rate of tax - 2.5 euros per day (or stay) plus 10% IVA (VAT) - there is an exemption if the ship is in port for under twelve hours. The government has yet to establish what will be the minimum stay in Balearic ports and so which might mean exemption under what is to be called the Law for the Sustainable Tourism Tax.

90% of ships currently spend over six hours in port (the average is around eight), so six hours may well prove to the minimum; any longer and passengers will be charged the top rate as envisaged under the law, i.e. two euros in high season and one euro in low season. From this, the government would derive some two million euros plus of tax revenue.

There will, though, be exemptions for crew, as they do not occupy tourist accommodation. The responsibility for collecting the tax will be with shipping agents in Balearic ports, but a key issue that it is emerging - not dissimilar to hotels - has to do with bookings already made well in advance. This could mean that cruise operators have to swallow the tax unless they can find a way of charging it to clients who have already made reservations. If not, then there are suggestions that routes might be changed in order to avoid having to incur a tax being described as unjust.

The charge on cruise-ship passengers who come into state-owned ports in the Balearics does raise a further question. What happens (if anything) with yachts that come into Balearic ports, be they state-owned or not?

The latest on the timetable for introducing the tax is that the government appears to be wanting to push the legislation through quickly, with a target date for introduction being 1 May next year, but there is no confirmation of this.

Comments

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Steve / Hace over 5 years

Yes, I agree with all the comments here. This tax will surely actually cost the government millions resulting from tourists going elsewhere. At the very least spending less money if they should still come here. Truly a badly thought-out and dangerous move for the island.

+4-

Steve Pickering / Hace over 5 years

Do the people who are on a cruise and stay, have to pay twice. Once when the arrive at Palma airport. then again when they get off the cruise ship for the stay on the island ??

Also how long before Palma is taken off the cruise itinerary. Go to Malta instead ?

+6-

Ann Morrison / Hace over 6 years

Shoot and foot come to mind.

+5-

Sean Dobson / Hace over 6 years

Don't count your chickens before they hatch.

+6-

Steve Riches / Hace over 6 years

Some clarification is needed here - I thought cruise ships already paid huge fees for docking. Are we now saying they will also have to cough up more depending on how many passengers are on board? What is actually needed is some incentive for people to come ashore to spend money, yet this new idea would probably lead to shorter stays in Palma as companies sought cheaper ports. Barcelona is quoted but on 3 separate cruise visits there I remember getting not enough time ashore and thus I spent considerably less money there than I otherwise would.

+2-