Balearics head hails ‘perfect’ tourism tax

Balearics head hails ‘perfect’ tourism tax

The Balearic Islands head of tourism has hailed the local government tax on tourist’s hotel bills as a success, but pledged not to increase it.

Pilar Carbonell Raya, Balearic Islands government general director of tourism, said: “The tax worked perfectly in the first six months.”

The Balearics tourism tax came in on July 1 last year despite opposition by leading tour operators, hoteliers and UK travel association Abta.

Raya said: “We had four complaints from 15 million visitors – two from mainland Spain, one from Germany and one from the UK.”

The Balearics levy €1 per night per adult for up to eight nights in a three-star hotel, €1.5 in a four star, and €2 in a five star.

Raya said: “Under-16s don’t pay. The rate is halved after eight nights and is half these rates in the winter season.”

A family staying the average seven nights in a four-star hotel would pay €21. Raya said the revenue raised and details of how it is used are published online.

“It’s totally transparent,” she said. “The tax has worked well.”

Asked if the Balearics government would respond to industry pressure and revoke the tax, she said: “We are obviously going to continue the tax, but we are not going to increase it.”

Speaking at the World Tourism Forum in Lucerne, Raya said: “We didn’t want to put on a tax, but it was a measure to contribute from tourism to the community.

“€30 million, 80% of what was collected in the six months last year, has gone into sustainability, into environmental projects. We gave half to a water system for tourists and locals.”

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