Don’t make a grave error!
Hoteliers warn about tourist tax and home rentals.
Hoteliers in the Canary Islands are sounding an early warning about two controversial issues which, they say, would constitute “a grave error” if ever implemented.
As the archipelago enjoys a record influx of visitors, with January recording historic increases, employers have been speaking out against 1, any suggestion of a tourist tax and 2, relaxation in the rules about renting out homes to holiday-makers.
They say both would cause “serious injury” and give rise to a whole new set of problems.
Despite being suggested many times, the idea of a “tasa turística” (a tourist tax on each person coming to the Canaries) has never been introduced but the political group New Canaries has made a formal proposition to the regional Parliament.
All four hoteliers’ groups have joined together to present a common front against such a tax, saying it would seriously affect the main economic activity of the Canary Islands at a time of recovery and job creation.
They point out that 70 per cent of tourists who come here do so through tour operators who could actually make more money in other competing destinations with lower operating costs. The islands might well have good weather and great beaches but so did other places and people were under no obligation to choose the Canaries.
Holiday-makers were already having to pay more for their travel because of the distance from Europe and though there might already be a tourist tax in locations such as Amsterdam, Berlin and Rome, there could be no comparison whatsoever with the special conditions of the islands.
The four groups – Ashotel, FEHT, AEHTF and Asolan – also pour scorn on the estimate that a tourist tax would bring in 100 million euros each year.
Ashotel, which represents hoteliers in Tenerife, La Gomera, El Hierro and La Palma, has also warned against relaxation in home rentals to holiday-makers as proposed by the Popular Party to the Canary Government.
The PP is suggesting that the current requirement of a property owner to seek prior authorisation should be removed. Ashotel believes this permission is absolutely necessary because it affects the original use of the building and could cause conflict and disturbance for neighbours who might be unaware of the situation when buying their own home.
Ashotel president, Jorge Marichal said Barcelona had already run into problems after relaxing the rules and had now suspended the licensing of tourist flats following complaints from other residents. This, he said, could happen in the Canaries unless there was clear segregation between tourist and residential uses. In Valencia, a judge had also banned a tourism flat in a residential building because of disturbance.