Tourism minister Barceló in parliament today. | Joan Torres

Biel Barceló, the minister for tourism, informed the Balearic parliament today that the tourist tax, set to be introduced next year, will not discriminate against any of the individual islands. “Distribution of funds will be made independent of its collection,” he said.  

The Partido Popular deputy, Margaret Mercadal, asked Barceló about the collection of the tax from cruise-ship passengers, observing that the draft legislation for the tax (officially named the sustainable tourism tax) applies an exemption to its payment by cruise ships which have their base in Majorca: in other words, cruises which start and finish in Palma. Such an exemption, she observed, doesn’t at present apply to the other islands because cruises do not start or finish elsewhere.
Mercadel added that this exemption for Balearic-based cruises “will only benefit Majorca” and that this has aroused discontent among the nautical business sector in Minorca, as “the measure penalises that island”.

Barceló insisted that it was fundamental to ensure that resources (from the tax) are available “for each and every one of the islands” in order that revenue can be earmarked from the care and maintenance of the environment.

Under the draft legislation the charge for cruise-ship passengers is one euro, with under-14s exempt, as is the case with other accommodation. Other exemptions in the draft relate to visitors who have to stay because of “force majeure,” to staff of an establishment who provide service in this establishment and need to stay at the establishment; to patients covered by the Balearic health service who need to travel for medical treatment (and also to those accompanying them); to holidaymakers under subsidised schemes, such as Imserso for Spanish senior citizens and similar schemes operated by European Union countries.

The tax is still at its draft stage, so amendments to it may well yet be included.