Tourist tax, what tourist tax? This controversial levy which will be introduced next summer looked set to make all the headlines at the World Travel Market fair in London this week but no. According to Balearic minister for tourism, Biel Barcelo, the British travel industry have said little about the tax and those that did just asked for some warning when it would be introduced.
Barcelo left London today, saying that WTM was good for the Balearics. Local hoteliers did make their views clear and so did the Spanish government who said that the tax was utter nonsense. But nothing new there. Privately, some British travel companies said that they were concerned but not overly.
Barcelo held talks with the key players in the British travel trade this week in London, but the tax was hardly mentioned.
I chatted with a top British hotelier who told me that Dubai had introduced a similar tax and initially everyone had said that it would end in tears. In the end, everyone paid and end of story. Perhaps the same will happen in the Balearics.
This was a good WTM for the government. They brought in Sir Bradley Wiggins who offered his support for cycling tourism on the island, there was good news for Magalluf with everyone underlining the big changes which had taken place and a great summer and even winter season for the Balearics from Britain. The only low point was that Balearic president, Francina Amengol, was delayed for five hours because of fog at Gatwick.
It was also a good WTM for the Calvia council. Magalluf has been in the spotlight for all the right reasons and one of the resort’s star attractions, The Katmandu, announced during the fair that it would open earlier next year. The continued development by the BCM Group in the resort has been welcomed, and the mayor of Calvia, Alfonso Rodriguez, will return to Palma knowing that the council’s mission has been accomplished: Magalluf is on the map again for all the right reasons.
Now, no tourism fair would be complete without the thorny issue of winter flights. One British airline representative said that the solution waa simple: if you expats fly back to Britain more during the winter there will be more flights. Simple!
And finally, the only low point for the Balearics at WTM has been the actual stand. Rather poor and too small, I suspect that the Balearic ministry for tourism will be having words with Turespana, the government promotion body.