Tourists paying the tax on Friday.

01-07-2016Jaume Morey

It was a major news week. Brexit, the Spanish election, the tourist tax. As to the election, there was a surprise in that the PP did better than had been expected, while Podemos didn't fare as well as they had hoped. In the Balearics, the Podemos alliance with Més failed to dislodge a PSOE seat in Congress. It was a case of as you were, but not nationally. The PP's gains (fourteen seats) placed Mariano Rajoy in pole position to form a new government. There is, though, a great deal of water set to pass under the negotiation bridge before that might happen.

Brexit was a constant theme of the week. How could it have been anything else? Much of the impact locally was of the blindingly obvious variety. This summer's tourism won't be affected; everyone agreed on that. Bookings are already made through to October. For the British foreign resident community, things were less obvious. No, nothing will change for now. But later? Vice-president Biel Barceló said that "we are here to help", but admitted that the regional government had limited powers.

The government organised a "summit". Friday's report suggested that it hadn't come to any great conclusions. There was not immediate concern about the regional economy because the UK had yet to undertake negotiations with Brussels. Barceló said that the government will do "all we can" in ensuring that there is a positive outcome to the talks. Quite what this amounts to we weren't told.

Tourist tax
Barceló had something else on his plate. The tourist tax came into effect on Friday. Prior to this (on Tuesday), the minister announced that it would have a negative impact of 0.8% on spending. A study had been carried out, which drew this conclusion. The minister, fond of percentages and statistics as are all politicians, reiterated his 1.4% claim: this would be the cost of the tax as part of the total cost of a holiday. On balance, it is unlikely that holidaymakers will be performing such a calculation.

Yesterday, we reported on the tourist tax's first day. In Alcudia, things had gone normally. The tax was being collected on arrival. Hotels all seemed to have systems in place to enable this. There wasn't overwhelming support for the tax from visitors we spoke to: more a case of being resigned to having to pay it. Not everyone, however, had been aware of the tax's introduction.

Air traffic controllers
Holidaymakers had a different concern. French air traffic controllers were causing further disruption. Twenty-seven flights to and from the Balearics were cancelled on Tuesday, while there were lengthy delays for flights. It was the eleventh strike in three months, and most of you were unimpressed. Things got, how can one put it, rather heated on the website.

Gender violence
There was another appalling example of domestic gender violence. In Alcudia, a 32-year-old woman was set alight by her partner at their home on Tuesday morning. He, Carlos Peña Flores, was to tell an Inca court on Friday that he had "lost it" because Xue Sandra Suara was going to leave him. The woman, remarkably enough, managed to get away with the couple's two-year-old, despite 80% burns. She remains in a critical condition.

Meanwhile, a jury in Palma was finding Dimitry U. guilty of having murdered his wife on Son Bauló beach in March 2014. She had been struck on the head with a rock, but the cause of death was attributed to asphyxia.


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Mike / Hace over 5 years

I agree completely, Glynis. Had enough of these whingers, most of whom don't even live on the island but think it within their rights to trash it wherever and whenever they want.


Glynis German / Hace over 5 years

What a disappointment it is to see that resident British immigrants and tourists are not aware of the great advantages that the new tourist tax will bring. Apart from a very small amount of money that it will cost the tourists (children and young people under 16 yrs don't pay), the long term benefits to the island will be many. The payment will generate much needed funds for protecting the environment first and foremost, as without that protection, tourists will find that in the long run, their holidays won't take place in paradise!