The Daily Bulletin's supplement for the World Travel Market on the streets of London. | Jason Moore

Tourism minister Biel Barceló, speaking at the World Travel Market today, has revealed that the national government, which had pledged 80 million euros of investment for re-development of Playa de Palma, has - having paid 17 million of this - scrapped the remaining 63 million euros of funding. Barceló explained that the regional government was informed of this decision a week ago. It was one taken by the Majorcan Isabel Borrego, who is the national secretary-of-state for tourism. She may be attending the WTM tomorrow (Tuesday), but a definite attendee is Jose Manuel Soria, the national minister of tourism, a fierce critic, along with Borrego, of the Balearic government’s intention to introduce the tourist tax.

Tax is needed
Barceló, anticipating that Soria will voice further criticisms at the fair, stressed the fact that here was an example of why the tax was needed. If state funding is withdrawn, he pointed out, how can badly needed investment in Playa de Palma be paid for? “Soria,“ added Barceló, “is the first one to say how important tourism is.” Yet, the government fails to back these words up with deeds and by financing.

The tourist tax was obviously a matter of huge interest at the fair, and speaking to The Bulletin, the minister announced that it will come into effect on 1 May next year, subject to all approval having been obtained through the parliamentary process. Tour operators, in discussions with Barceló and members of the Balearic delegation, which included also the director-general of tourism, Pilar Carbonell, and the mayor of Palma, José Hila, called on the minister to give them at least one month’s advance warning of the date for the implementation, if it does indeed prove to be 1 May or is later. Barceló said that he was not too concerned about the effects of the tourist tax on the UK tourism market. Given the strength of the pound, the amounts that will need to be paid will not seem great: almost like small change, he said, in so many words.