Tourism competitiveness lessened because of the tourist tax. | I. Cabrera

Rebellion against the tourist tax. The Mallorca Hoteliers Federation, which had been largely silent during the row which brew up over the use of tourist tax revenue to sponsor the recent Los 40 Music Awards in Palma, has now come out and demanded that the tax is suspended for next year and not allocated, as the government has decided, to Covid funds - an estimated tax revenue of 140 million euros.

The federation points out that, if there is EU money for environmental and tourism investments in 2022, as the government says, tourist tax money is not necessary. In which case, the tax should be suspended during 2022. The federation argues that the decision to allocate this revenue to purposes that have nothing to do with sustainable tourism completely undermines the objective of the tax. Tourists, the federation adds, are unaware that for three years (2020 to 2022) the tax "will have been used to defray the effects of the pandemic, deviating from the objectives for which it was created".

The federation takes issue with the suspension of meetings of the commission that decides the distribution of the tax. This will allow the government to allocate revenue to what it deems appropriate without attending to the requests made by organisations represented on the committee. "Abusive behaviour" in respect of the management of the tax is therefore "evident"; the tax has been "totally distorted".

There is acknowledgement that it will continue to be necessary to allocate money to Covid in 2022, but the hoteliers believe that vaccination has changed the situation in hospitals and has led to improvement in economic recovery and the labour market. Therefore, it cannot understand why funds from the tourist tax need to be used "in the same proportion".

If the tax is to be maintained, it should be used for the purposes for which it was created. Moreover, investments should be made proportionally, based on amounts collected in each municipality.

The hoteliers regret the government's "low transparency", as the commission will not be meeting, and they ask that all the organisations represented are given the same weight in decision-making so that the participatory process is "real and transparent".

The federation goes on in reiterating the fact that it has been opposed to the tax since its introduction in 2016 because it reduces competitiveness in respect of other tourist destinations. There is added reason to this opposition "in the current situation aggravated by the pandemic".