Benito is concerned about regional government tourism policy.


Unless there is further disagreement between the parties of government - PSOE and Més - and Podemos, the legislation for the sustainable tourism tax will finally be approved either this coming Tuesday or a week later. Once this parliamentary approval is given, all that will remain will be for there to be an announcement on the Official Bulletin. It is this announcement which marks the true entrance of the bill into law.

The finance and budget committee, which is made up with representatives of the various parties in parliament, has given its go ahead for the final stage of the parliamentary process, and headline aspects of this agreement include the starting date for the introduction of the tax. It will not be 1 May or 1 June but 1 July. It took the opposition El Pi party to propose what is considered to be a more realistic timeframe for its introduction.

Another significant aspect of the bill - the use of revenue for social purposes, such as care homes for the elderly - has been knocked back. The committee voted against this by eight to five, drawing on the support of Podemos and the Partido Popular, both of which opposed this use.

Compromise has been achieved over what had been another sticking-point between the government and Podemos: the geographical distribution of tax revenue across the islands. Podemos had been proposing an arrangement which had been considered prejudicial to Majorca. The parties have settled on a scheme whereby 60% of the revenue will be distributed among the islands, with Majorca set to get at least two-fifths of this. The remaining 40% will not be subject to geographic distribution and will be determined by the committee to oversee revenue use for specific projects.

Though the social-purposes aspect now appears to be dead, there is still some ill-feeling. Podemos is making clear that it will not budge, though Més are suggesting that it could yet be an issue for further debate. For the Partido Popular, its tourism spokesperson, Alvaro Gijón, is now predicting that there will be a constant fight between municipalities to see how much revenue they can get.

Meanwhile, the president of the Majorca Hoteliers Federation, Inmaculada Benito, today expressed her concerns about a regional government that is taking "ideological and impulsive measures" and failing to take account of changes in the tourism industry. In a presentation to a conference entitled "Tourism policy, present and future in the Balearics", Benito attacked policy that was being made without being assessed and without taking regard of where tourism has come from and where it is heading.