Biel Barceló and Pere Muñoz, director of the Balearic Tourism Agency, during a press announcement. | Miquel Àngel Cañellas


Tourism minister Biel Barceló today confirmed that the full committee which decides how tourist tax revenue is to be spent has approved the proposal of the executive committee that priority should be given this year to water and environmental projects. This, however, was not the main item on today's agenda. Rather, it was the legal challenge to the tax by the Majorca Hoteliers Federation.

Barceló said that the government couldn't understand the appeal that has been made to the Balearic High Court, adding: "We consider the tax to be irreversible. It means resources for land and for the environment to the benefit of all citizens."

Collection of the tax, he noted, is being complied with and applied. "We regret, therefore, that someone now wishes to put a spoke in the wheel. So, we regret the appeal, but that is their right (the hoteliers). This seems to relate solely to the federation's initial opposition to the tax. They had said from the outset that they would consider lodging an appeal."

The minister defended the work of the finance ministry, which had ensured that every point in the tourist tax law was discussed. He explained that at present there was only notice of an appeal. Until there is anything specific from the court "and we know what we're talking about", the government and its legal services will not be making any response. He noted that the federation has not asked the court for any "precautionary measures". These might entail a suspension of the tax.

Of the government's relationship with the federation, Barceló said that there is dialogue. He pointed out that the recently approved plan for sustainable tourism had the support of the federation. At their next meeting, the government will be seeking an explanation from the federation as to why it has lodged its appeal.