Tourism minister Biel Barceló discussing the tourist tax with the Bulletin this week.

27-06-2016Humphrey Carter

The new sustainable tourism tax, or tourist tax, comes into force in the Balearics from tomorrow (Friday). All overnight stays in "tourist accommodation", which the minister for tourism, Biel Barcelo, explained to the Bulletin this week will include holiday property lets, will be subject to the tax.

The tax costs one euro per day for stays in one-star to three-star hotels and cruise ships; one euro, fifty cents for three-star superior and four-star; and two euros for stays in four-star superior and five-star hotels. There is an additional 10% IVA (VAT) on top of this. Children aged under 16 will be exempt from the tax. During low season (1 November -30 April), there will be a 50% discount. Tax payable by long-term holidaymakers will be reduced to 50% from the ninth day of their stay.

Barcelo said that the cost will represent a maximum surcharge of no more than 1.4% of the respective holiday budget.

Despite the tax meaning an additional charge to holidays, albeit minimal, there has been relatively little negative reaction from the tourist industry and the media overseas, especially in the UK and Germany - unlike the last time the Balearic government introduced a tourist tax, which it was forced to scrap because of the backlash.

"It has also been accepted here in the Balearics," Barcelo said. "This time round I think everybody understands that we need to raise extra funds to protect the environment and to invest in our heritage, culture, tourism innovation, tackling seasonality and so creating more low-season employment.

"Considering the little return we get from Madrid on the taxes the Balearics pays in, we’ve got to be more self-sufficient, and this is one of the ways we intend to go about protecting and improving the future of the islands, for residents and for the visitors.

"Over the course of what is left of this year we aim to raise an extra 40 million euros, and next year we’re talking about almost 80 million.

"We’re going to be distributing leaflets in various languages to hotels and other tourism outlets explaining what we intend to do with the tax, but in short the message is ‘thank you’ for playing an important part in the preservation of the Balearics.

"One has to understand that the floating population of the Balearics comes with a cost. At the peak of August, we are going to have some two million people across the islands. That is nearly double the resident population and puts a huge strain on all the natural resources, infrastructure and the environment, which is extremely fragile. All that comes with a cost, so all we are asking visitors is to help in creating a sustainable tourism model which will enable us to protect the region, improve the quality of life and ensure that it remains a popular tourist destination.

"We have created a commission which will meet every year and discuss what the priorities are with regard to how the money raised from the tourist tax is going to be spent. This commission for the promotion of sustainable tourism will comprise representatives from the different islands, business associations, trade unions, environmental protection groups and others, but what we are not going to get involved in is large infrastructure projects which are going to require lots of time and money.

"I think the travelling public, and the industry as a whole, has grown accustomed to paying a tourist tax. For example, 47 states in the United States charge one and a growing number of European countries do as well."
The government is also developing a specific website on the tax which will provide visitors, tour operators and local residents with a way of monitoring how the funds raised are being used and information on the different projects and initiatives that will be developed.

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Steve / Hace over 5 years

Tourists should take an early morning stroll through Magaluf, and peruse the mountains of rubbish, plastic cups, food scraps, used condoms, flyers and broken bottles etc that our "tourists" have disgarded in the streets. Take a look at the damage to trees and shrubs along the way, the state of public benches and seating areas.

The cleaaning up and repair of all this carnage needs paying for, why should the resident be burdened with it.

If a tourist thinks Mallorca is too expensive, he should make a trip to the south of france to check. Then go and have a look at the Spanish mainland, and compare like for like.

+-2-

Mike / Hace over 5 years

Seems like all of us residents are in favour. Most against appear to be tourists who want to be able to wreck the island on the cheap.

When you have all - every single last one of you - coughed up to pay for the carbon footprint of getting you down to the Baleares in the first place, then you can whinge about the minuscule tax.

Until then, stfu.

+-7-

Brian Challis / Hace over 5 years

I'm bringing my family of 4 to stay in Paguera for 2 weeks in August. Only one of our children is under 16 so the tourist tax will be I guess around €50 for our stay. We, like many others are on a budget, so we have decided that a planned day renting bikes is no longer going to happen. Sadly we will have to forego a holiday activity, and a local bike hire company has lost our business thanks to the tourist tax.

+9-

Wolfgang / Hace over 5 years

Simon, I'm Austrian, I have no interest in German politics.

+-2-

Simon Tow / Hace over 5 years

Wolfgang, do you have the same opinion about immigrants in Germany ?.

+-3-

Ron / Hace over 5 years

Why punish the poor tourist and take his hard earned cash off him when more than 163 million euros are owed to the tax office by Mallorcan companies - more than 45 of them - mainly builders, developers and their agents who cashed in on the boom years. On the list published today are some well known names who of course are still trading. What can't this useless government produce a more efficient system to collect all this money from them instead of making the tourist the scapegoat?? After all the minister is qualified in innovation and research as well as tourism.

+7-

Mr B / Hace over 5 years

Hey Barceló, are you going to carry my bags when the baggage handlers go on strike and drive the coach when the coach drivers go on strike? I didn't think so. Your islands' economy only exists because of tourism. You are killing the Goose laying the Golden Eggs. We love your island, but we are staying away because of your greed and stupidity. I cant imagine any of the Tourist Tax being ploughed back into the economy. It will probably go toward pay rises for those who do not deserve it in Central Government!

+5-

Wolfgang / Hace over 5 years

As the owner of a large house in Puerto Andratx I pay lots of taxes and employ people. This contributes greatly to our lovely Island. Tourists come here, overindulge, behave badly, pollute and leave us to pick up the social and economic cost. Oh I hear you say, it creates employment and wealth. Not really, it keeps a large migrant workforce in jobs that otherwise would leave the Island and creates profits for businesses. I agree with the tax and if this is the start of going down the path of smartening up Mallorca and getting smaller tourist numbers but wealthier, more educated and better behaved ones, then that works for me.

+-5-

Juan-Moreno / Hace over 5 years

Vas a dejar ahora la Llorona, please stop moaning. I agree with tax-in fact I would make higher. To many tourist in Mallorca, if tax make less people holiday, then that good for residents.

+-12-

holidaymaker / Hace over 5 years

Forgot to mention in my last post the fact that this is one of those things that shows the EU doesn't work. Spain is in the EU so why charge other member states Tax to visit. What happened to free movement? Agree with Stan Jessop its totally wrong maybe all countries should start charging .Tourists pay more on the Mallorcan buses than residents as they have travel cards which tourists can't get its all wrong.

+11-