Silver Wind, one of the smaller cruise ships, won't be providing significant amounts of tourist tax. | Gabriel Alomar

Shipping companies at Balearic ports will have to pay some four million euros tourist tax next year. The association for maritime businesses, which represents shipping agents, says that the change introduced by the regional government is something that the businesses are getting used to, as a tax also applies in Barcelona. At that port there has been an increase in the tax charged to cruise ship passengers.

As well as a doubling of the rate of the tax, it will apply to all cruise ships regardless of how short their stays are. Until the end of this year, the tax will still only be charged if a ship is in port for twelve hours or more.

The amount will obviously vary according to the size of the ship and its passenger capacity. An average amount will be between 6,000 and 10,000 euros for the larger ships that can carry between 3,000 and 5,000 passengers and which do often stop over (in Palma at any rate).

The companies are suggesting that they may have to bear the cost of the tourist tax, given the nature of bookings made in advance.