Barcelo claims that the UK travel market has no issue with the tax. | DE

The two parties managed to avoid each other at the World Travel Market, but now that the Balearic minister for tourism, Biel Barcelo, is back in Majorca, he and the Majorcan Hoteliers Federation are locked in a fresh war of words over the tourist tax due to come into effect on 1 May next year.

Barcelo said yesterday that the majority of the British tour operators and airlines “are quite happy and content” with the tourist tax. He added that they told him in London that they consider its introduction as “normal and common” on the grounds that so many other destinations either have similar taxes in place or are planning on introducing a levy like the Balearics. According to Barcelo, in none of the meetings with the tour operators and airlines, no one was adamantly opposed to the tax, although that is not what ABTA, the Association of British Travel Agents, nor its German counterpart have said. The Germans have gone as far as warning that there will be a repeat of what happened last time the tourist tax was introduced and Germans will simply go elsewhere.

And one Bulletin reader told the paper that comments made in London by the Balearic  delegation that, with the pound being so strong, British holidaymakers can easily afford the tax, were “offensive.” But Barcelo was not going to let the matter drop there.
He said that, on the grounds that the UK market appears to have accepted the tax, the Majorcan Hoteliers Federation should stop “inventing” UK opposition to the tax.

“What surprised us is that hardly anyone asked us about the tax in London, neither the airlines nor the tour operators,” Barcelo said. And he urged the hoteliers to stop making “alarmist” comments and launching campaigns against the tax  “which have no real backing and are merely creating an artificial problem.”

The hoteliers, however, have made it clear that they consider the tax as “assault” on their industry.