Tourism minister Barceló would have been pleased to learn that the tourist tax was a "success".

26-10-2015DE

The pound and a pounding
Ramifications of Brexit continued to dominate the news last week. Tuesday's main story dealt with the "pounding" that Majorca's resorts were receiving because of the weak pound. Businesses which were said to have been suffering more than others - in Magalluf anyway - were currency exchange bureaus, tobacconists and shops selling alcohol. Some of you weren't entirely convinced that British tourist spending would suddenly dry up or that British tourists would think twice about their holidays in Majorca, pointing to other slumps of the pound against the euro - a point also made by the Balearic tourism minister.

The successful tourist tax
He, Biel Barceló, would have been delighted to hear President Armengol announce - as reported on Friday - that the tourist tax has been a "success". The finance minister, Catalina Cladera, added that hotel occupancy data showed that the tax was not having any negative effect. As one of you remarked, it was perhaps slightly premature to be drawing conclusions as to the success of the tax, given that it has only been in force for a couple of weeks. Another comment, from a gentleman who is responsible for collecting the tax at a hotel, observed that there had not been a single complaint about it, though word from Cala d'Or was that people are minded not to return, feeling that they are being ripped off.

Meanwhile, the success (possibly) of the tax was such that there had been only one formal complaint against it lodged with the government. A Spanish tourist, seemingly from Catalonia where they have had a tourist tax since 2012, had taken exception to it.

Dual nationality
Back to Brexit, and Thursday's front page was demanding a fair deal. Two British journalists living in Spain had launched a petition to get the Spanish government to grant dual nationality to Britons who have been resident in Spain for ten years or longer. This caused a flurry of commenting activity, one observation relating to those who have been "living under the radar" who would not qualify even were the Spanish government to be so generous. The report also raised consideration of the E-word. And on this, it can be announced that "expat" or its longer form is to be officially removed from the Bulletin lexicon, though comments and letters will escape such regulation.

Going to the loo
News about cruise ships is never far from the pages, and last week proved to be no exception. There was a different angle, however, to all the cruise passengers overwhelming Palma, and it had to do with loos. Wednesday's edition highlighted the fact that bars and restaurants along the Paseo Marítimo (and possibly elsewhere) were getting peed off by all the tourists going into the use the toilet. And not spending anything, other than a penny. Giovanni of an Italian restaurant calculated that up to ten litres of water were being flushed on a regular basis, and this was costing him.

It might help of course, as one of you observed, if tourists didn't need to go into bars and restaurants. As there aren't public loos, what can they do? Another comment was short and to the point: "They sh*t, but don't pay ecotasa." And this, the non-payment of the tourist tax, we learned on Tuesday, is the case, unless ships are in port for twelve hours or more. This took many by surprise, as the government had been intimating that it would make no difference how long the stopover was.

Finally, what more needed to be said. The words of the French consul, Michel Magnier, once again observing a minute's silence, were moving in their patriotic simplicity and determination: "Vive la France. Vive le République."

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