The meeting of the sustainable tourism commission.

09-05-2019Govern Illes Balears @goib

The commission for "impetus for sustainable tourism" met on Thursday. This commission determines spending of tourist tax revenue, of which there will be 128 million euros for projects in 2019. New projects have yet to be decided; 105 million euros will be for these, while the remainder is to go on projects that cover more than one year.

Represented on this commission are the government, island councils, town halls, business, agriculture, the university, unions and environmentalists. Reaction from certain representatives to the 2019 "plan for sustainable tourism", i.e. the spending of the tax revenue, was as it has been previously. The Confederation of Balearic Business Associations (CAEB) voted against the plan. It wished to express the private sector's disagreement with the "dynamics" of the commission and criticised the "absence of dialogue". Representation on the commission is, in the view of María José Aguiló, not respected.

Aguiló is the vice-president of the Majorca Hoteliers Federation, which is included on the commission through CAEB. She added that projects get approved which do not comply with all the purposes that the tax is meant to have and concluded that "the people who pay the tax don't see the effects".

Environmentalists GOB and Amics de la Terra (Friends of the Earth) are represented. They have consistently rejected the way in which the revenue is spent and did so again at the meeting. They have wanted the revenue to go towards environmental projects and nothing else.

Tourism minister Bel Busquets, president of the commission, observed that the law for the sustainable tourism tax has objectives for sustainability that are "holistic, total, global" and are in line with UN objectives.

Finance minister Catalina Cladera noted that by the end of this year, total tourist tax revenue since its introduction in 2016 will reach 330 million euros. It is "a treasure" not just in terms of revenue but also as "a powerful means for advancing different projects and policies that have been lacking on the islands".

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