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Balearics doubles its tourist tax in 2018 despite fears of adverse effects 

Tourists visiting Mallorca and Ibiza next year will pay double as much “ecotax”, despite claims that the increase will put people off, cause serious harm to Menorca and dent the spending power of holidaymakers.

The rise to as much as four euros a night, instead of two, was confirmed by the Balearic Government which expects to bring in an extra 120 million euros a year as a result of the increase.

It has denied the daily charge is a tax levy and says it will NOT hit the popularity of the islands.

But angry hoteliers and business owners disagree, claiming the Government has been too hasty in its decision and is hitting the already under-strain pockets of tourists as a result of the lower pound/euro exchange rate.

The Business Federation of Majorca has described the decision as “a disaster” and it has yet to see any positive results of this year’s ecotax collection after it was re-introduced in the Balearics for the first time.

FEHM president, Inma Benito said: “It’s a tax levy and will have an effect on the influx and competitiveness of the destination”, warning: “There may be a significant number of people who stop coming to Mallorca throughout the year and not only in the high season”.

The Federation says it is seriously worried about the impact the rise will have on tourist spending power as they will have less to spend on eating out, excursions or sport.

In turn, this would be seriously harmful to the whole of the Balearics.

The approved increase will mean tourists visiting in 2018 will pay on average three euros a night.

Guests staying in hotels, city hotels, five-star apartment hotels, five-star luxury and four-star superiors will pay four euros per day; those of four stars and three stars superior, three euros; those of one, two and three stars, two euros.

As for tourist apartments, holidaymakers staying in four-keys and four upper keys will pay four euros per day; three keys upper, three euros; one, two and three keys, two euros.

In rural hotels, it will be two euros per day, in hostels, hostels residences, pensions, inns, tourist camps and campsites, as well as shelters , it will be two euros.

As predicted, the Government plans to start charging the tourist tax to all cruise ships that stop at a port in the Balearic Islands regardless of the berth time – up to now it was only charged after 12 hours. The fee will be two euros and is estimated to generate revenue of about 1.8 million euros.

These rates will be applied during the high season (May-October). In the low season, from November to April, the rates also double, even though the 50 per cent discount will be maintained.

There will continue to be no charge for children under the age of 16.

The Government anticipates that the change will take effect on January 1, 2018 with the draft general budget.

Minister of Finance and Public Administration, Catalina Cladera said the ecotax introduced this year had been well-accepted and would “help correct the footprint of tourism” in addition to “redistributing wealth”.

Vice president, Biel Barceló said it had not had a negative impact on visitor numbers to the islands and would still be “the lowest in Europe” compared to Brussels (average cost of eight euros), Florence (five euros ) and Amsterdam (three euros).

Tourist spending had also not been affected, with latest figures suggesting there had been an six per cent increase in daily spending per person during the second quarter of this year. Business leaders in Menorca say they are particularly worried about the impact of the rise as the smaller island is not saturated with tourists like Mallorca and Ibiza.