Gabriel Escarrer, Encarna Piñero and Luis Buzzi at the Foro Preferente.

24-05-2019Pilar Pellicer

Juan Molas, the president of the Cehat Spanish confederation of hotels, said on Friday that whichever parties win the elections today should adopt intelligent policies and engage in dialogue with hotel businesses. A priority is "to get rid of the ecotax, as this would send a good signal to the market".

For Molas, charging a guest up to four euros a day in the Balearics means a loss of competitiveness in what is a "difficult" year. He questioned the transparency of the process for spending tourist tax revenue, adding that this has generated "a complete lack of trust".

Molas was speaking at the Foro Preferente, a conference organised by the Preferente travel magazine. Another speaker, the president of the Palma hoteliers association, Javier Vich, observed that a quarter of the tax revenue has been allocated to social housing. Spending on this "merits respect, but it shouldn't come from the ecotax".

Vich was critical of a "lack of capacity for managing resources", noting that up until now only 23 million euros out of 234 million collected have been fully spent. This is despite the government having spoken of "urgent need".

Gabriel Escarrer of Meliá described the ecotax as an "aberration". It is an "eco-farce which is neither for tourism nor the environment".

On another issue, holiday rentals, Carmen Riu of Riu Hotels & Resorts, said that these should not be permitted in apartment buildings. Gabriel Subiás of the Avoris travel agency/tour operator (part of the Barceló Group) added that this form of rental is creating a very significant social problem.

The hoteliers also had something to say about Theresa May's announcement that she will resign. They expressed hope that this will bring about a change in direction regarding Brexit. Gabriel Llobera of the association for hotel chains said that it would be logical if the British people were to vote again and have a second referendum, especially because of all the "chaos" that has been caused and the increased level of awareness as to the effects of leaving the European Union. "For the tourism industry, this would be the best news" in a year that is proving difficult.