Inma Benito has sent a letter to the Speaker Huertas. | Archive

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Majorca’s hoteliers not only wish to offer their opinion on the tourist tax, they also want to take part directly in the processing of the tax law in parliament. They wish to join with parliament’s members in debating the law in order to be able to voice their views and to ask for modifications that they consider to be appropriate.

Inmaculada de Benito, the president of the hoteliers’ federation, has sent a letter to the president (Speaker) of parliament, Xelo Huertas, in which she expresses the federation’s interest in participating in the parliamentary process. In so doing, Benito is asking for the application of Article 46.4 in the parliament’s rules which, the hoteliers argue, allows for direct participation in committee and in the full chamber to those expert to inform and advise.

This particular article offers the possibility of involvement by those who are not members of parliament. However, it only allows for intervention in committee and not in full session. In fact, the article opens the way to members of parliament asking for the appearance of non-members. What the hoteliers are seeking - in making their own request - is not envisaged under parliament’s rules.

In the letter to Huertas there is reference to what was apparently said at a meeting of 17 July and so a request to be involved by virtue of “novelties” to be introduced into parliamentary rules with “the object of promoting the participation of citizens, civil society and accredited institutions and organisations.” The novelties to which Benito refers in her letter don’t in fact exist. They formed one of the undertakings by the current government and its pact colleagues in Podemos, but there has been no processing of this to date.

Benito takes the opportunity in her letter to remind Huertas of the fact that the federation represents more than 900 tourist establishments and some 200,000 hotel places, which comprise 80% of total hotel accommodation in Majorca. In addition, there are links with the federations in Minorca and Ibiza as well as membership of the Balearic business confederation and the Fomento del Turismo (Majorca Tourist Board).

The hoteliers have consistently voiced their opposition to the tourist tax, but, aware of the general objectives of the government in introducing it, have sought to be involved with its drafting from the outset. However, tension in the relationship with the government increased at London’s World Travel Market earlier this month. The tourism minister, Biel Barceló, suggested that tour operator and airline representatives were not opposed to the introduction of the tax, something which Benito refuted. Both accused each other of being “unrealistic.”