Laura Camargo of Podemos insisted that the tourist tax rate should be raised.

21-09-2016@PdmIllesBalears

Tourist tax and limits
The Majorca Hoteliers Federation announced that it would be taking the tourist tax to court. It didn't specify the justifications for this, other than to say that there had all along been an intention to challenge the tax. Tourism minister Biel Barceló first said he couldn't understand why the federation was doing this and then said that he wasn't surprised. Whether the legal challenge goes anywhere remains to be seen, as the Balearic High Court has to decide if the federation has a case. The government, though, said that it would be talking with the federation in order to try and prevent the matter going further.

Meanwhile, the government was congratulating itself on having so far received 32 million euros of tourist tax revenue. Much of this year's revenue will be going towards projects for improving water supply. Podemos were arguing that the rate of the tax should increase, as the party pressed its case for limiting tourist numbers. Both Podemos and Més made capital of the fact that they had affiliated themselves to a new campaign - "senselimitsnohihafutur" (without limits there is no future) - which we highlighted on Tuesday. PSOE, on the other hand, had not signed up to the campaign.

The divisions within the government on the question of tourist limits were evident, President Armengol advocating a "realistic" response and one that does not give out an anti-tourist message. There needed to be caution when making decisions that could have repercussions in the future.

We were arguing in favour of sensible and level-headed debate on the subject of tourist numbers, one not driven by political ideology but by common sense. The Partido Popular made something of a similar suggestion, proposing a "grand pact" for tourism and a commission of experts to address the subject. President Armengol responded by saying that the proposal was "better late than never" and that "after having tried to destroy everything, the PP now wants a pact".


FAN opens and plastic bags are to be restricted
After a great deal of fanfare over the months leading up to the day, the FAN Mallorca Shopping complex finally opened, meaning that Primark opened its first store on the island. Customers queued for hours ahead of the Thursday morning opening, there having been a ceremony the previous evening to inaugurate the centre.

Shops in the complex which might at present hand out plastic bags for single use were facing the prospect of not being able to in the future. Palma town hall announced that a new bylaw will be introduced at the start of 2018 under which single-use bags will be outlawed. Reaction was mixed, traders' associations unanimous in saying that they hadn't been consulted but varying in their attitudes to the proposed bylaw. One wanted to know how many trees would need to be cut down in order to provide paper bags, an alternative that the town hall was proposing.


Rain, but not everywhere
We looked at how a number of municipalities in the Tramuntana mountains were coping with the water shortage. Some have applied restrictions and/or arranged for deliveries by water tankers; one or two seemed to be coping better than others. But all municipalities - and the regional government - are constantly looking towards the heavens. They duly opened, though heavy falls of rain missed good parts of the island almost completely, including areas in the Tramuntana, such as where the giant reservoirs are sited.


More road fatalities
Barely a week seems to pass at present without a fatality on the roads. On Thursday morning, the nephew of the mayor of Consell was killed along with a female passenger in an accident that was something of a mystery. It had occurred some hours before the car was found by road maintenance workers in a "torrent" ditch off the motorway near Alcampo. No other vehicles, investigators suggested, had been involved.

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