Abta has called on the Balearic Islands to reconsider plans for an eco-tax on rental cars due to be introduced in April.
The planned tax of €3 to €7.5 a day, depending on a vehicle’s CO2 emissions, would add up €52.5 (£46) a week to the cost car hire.
Customers will be expected to pay the tax upon collecting their vehicle even if they have pre-paid the full cost of hire.
Abta contacted the Balearics Islands authorities this week seeking a delay and calling on them to reconsider.
Nikki White, Abta head of destinations and sustainability, said: “Hasty decisions that don’t give travel businesses time to prepare and take tourists by surprise can have a very damaging impact. Taxing tourists does more harm than good in the long term.”
Spanish tourism minister Jose Manuel Soria denounced the tax plans at World Travel Market in London last November, describing the levy as “unfair”.
However, the Balearics’ conservative-led government aims to raise €15 million a year from the tax.
It is not the first time the Balearics Islands has introduced an eco tax – it tried something similar 10 years ago.
The islands imposed a tax of €1 per person per day on hotels in May 2002 – about 62p a day at the time – raising €12 million in the first year for use on regeneration projects. Children under 16 and pensioners were excluded.
The tax was scrapped in November 2003, ironically by the conservative Popular Party, following a change of government.
Abta denounced the accommodation tax as “a fiasco from start to finish”.
The planned start date of April 1 for the new car rental tax is in doubt. Abta said: “It’s not yet clear when the tax will be implemented.”
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