Balearic tourism minister Bel Busquets. | Joan Torres


Tourism minister Bel Busquets yesterday insisted that the tourist tax is "not questioned socially" and that there are no "tourismphobics" in the Balearics.

The tax, she said, is here to stay and is socially accepted. It is now time to "consolidate" the tax. "At the moment a future increase in the tax is not envisaged." She suggested that the 2018 summer season will be similar to the 2017 season and reiterated the need for sustainable development so that "visitors have a good experience and enjoy the islands".

Busquets argued that "saturation" can lead tourists to decide not to be repeat visitors. In this regard, she observed that an "excessive increase" in the number of flights this year will add pressure for the islands. She noted that the scheduling of flights is not a matter over which the Balearic government has any control.

The islands, she maintained, are not "tourismphobic". Sustainability is a "popular demand", and there needs to be regulation so that there are not "episodes of rejection".

Moving onto the fines for Airbnb and TripAdvisor, the minister said that the sanctions could have a "dissuasive effect". The government's intention, she added, was not to sanction but to enforce the law. "Whoever wishes to comply will have no kind of problem."

Websites had been informed and most had complied. Even ones which had not specifically been warned, acted "responsibly" by removing illegal accommodation.

As for other challenges for what remains of the period of the current administration, Busquets referred to the transfer of tourism planning responsibilities to the Council of Majorca, the development of projects funded by the tourist tax, the creation of a 'Touristdata' system and the regulation of all-inclusives.