It has been a continually controversial topic since it was reintroduced, but the tourist tax or, to give it its official name, the tax for sustainable tourism, is going to double today. The rates will remain in place for all holidaymakers over the age of 16 until 31 October.
Since the tourist tax was first introduced by a former left-wing coalition government, there have without a doubt been reasons for reintroducing the levy, but is has come at a price, with holidaymakers, many who have come to Majorca, no longer returning and looking for cheaper destinations instead.
Tourism sustainability has become the buzzword not just here in the Balearics but across the world and with a lack of sufficient funding to protect the local ecosystem, environment, natural resources, etc., the Balearic government claims that it was given no option but to introduce the tax to help fund ecological projects as well as encourage holidaymakers to visit out of season.
Many opponents have accused the government of being mad and turning tourists away, sending out a message that they are not wanted, but there is method behind the so-called madness. With the Balearic population nearly tripling during peak season, but only local taxes to pay for the upkeep of the islands, extra funding is not only needed in the short to mid-term but also in the long-term.
The Balearic government considers that the tourist tax, of which 27 similar levies are paid across the EU - Britons in fact pay the largest in Europe in the form of the Air Passenger Duty to fly out of the country, not to mention to long-haul destinations - is a small contribution to pay to ensure a sustainable future for the Balearics so that holidaymakers and residents can continue to enjoy the region for many years to come.
In the mid to low season, the tourist tax is cut by 50 per cent, and this summer will be the first time that cruise passengers are going to be charged the tourist tax, much to the anger of central government in Madrid which controls port movements and activities.
Madrid has however insisted that on top of the tax, ten per cent VAT is changed so that it at least gets something out of the funds raised for the Balearics.
The rates for the tourist tax listed here
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