Why aren't yachts subject to the tourist tax? | Patricia Lozano

One of the few sources of support for the doubling of the tourist tax has been the unions. Immediately after Thursday's announcement of the tax increase, the CCOO said that it was a positive decision and one that would help to reduce tourism seasonality. This would be, the union explained, if revenue from the tax goes towards measures that will lower the peaks in tourist numbers in the summer and increase numbers in the winter.

Silvia Montejano, the general secretary of the CCOO's services federation in the Balearics, noted that the tourist tax hasn't meant any reduction in tourism and she felt that there won't be because of an increase in the tax.

The UGT echoes what the CCOO is saying. There has been no negative effect for the tourism sector from the tourist tax and the union is convinced that there still won't be once the tax goes up. Moreover, the tax increase will assist with tackling seasonality. Its general secretary, Alejandro Texías, observes: "Despite the criticism, the tourist tax has not diminished Balearic competitiveness as a tourist destination. Nor has it affected hotel occupancy or tourist spending in the Balearics."

Texías believes that it is necessary that tourists compensate the Balearics and the islands' residents for the consequences of their being on the islands. He is confident that general benefits from the tourist tax revenue investment will be realised. He identifies benefits for the environment, social and labour issues and training.

He singles out the changes to the tax for cruise ships for special mention. The tax will double to two euros and no longer be restricted to ships that are in port for twelve hours or longer. However, he thinks that the government is missing one source of tourist tax revenue and that is from people on private yachts that moor or anchor in Balearic ports or waters. Yachts aren't covered by the tourist tax legislation, and Texías is not the first to have identified this potential anomaly.