Nel Martí of Més in Minorca. | Jaume Morey


Nel Martí of Més in Minorca says that his party has reached an agreement with the government for a freezing or minimal increase in the tourist tax during the low-season months.

It had been understood that the winter rate, which is 50% lower than in the summer, would double next year. However, Martí explains that the parties which rule the Council of Minorca - Més, PSOE and Podemos - have been unanimous in lobbying the tourism and finance ministries for a low-season freeze. A doubling of the rate, Martí believes, could be particularly harmful for Minorca, where the impact of seasonality is already especially acute.

From what Martí is saying, it would seem as if the proposal has been accepted (the assumption is that a freeze would apply to all the islands). He notes that Més in Minorca will now vote in favour of the government's spending plan for 2018 because of an agreement which might at most entail a slight increase in the rate but not a doubling. Més in Minorca, it should be noted, formally split from Més in Majorca a few weeks ago. It doesn't, therefore, automatically follow the government's line on all policies.

Parliament's vote on the spending is scheduled for today. While Podemos at the Council of Minorca may be in favour of a winter tax freeze, the leadership in the Balearics isn't. Alberto Jarabo has insisted that the doubling of the tax should be for both summer and winter. Jarabo hasn't guaranteed Podemos support for the 2018 spending plan, but the party has largely gone along with it because of a government acceptance of its demand for a tourist tax increase.

Andreu Alcover of PSOE says that there has been agreement to double the tax but that there is now in fact a debate as to how to implement it. There are two months, he suggests, for coming to a final agreement.

The low season is normally defined as November to April. The 50% low-season reduction in the tourist tax currently applies to this period. There is a possibility, however, that April could be re-defined for purposes of the tourist tax as the summer season, meaning that there would be no reduction.