Doubled tourist tax now in force in Balearics for summer season
British holidaymakers arriving in Mallorca and Ibiza faced a May Day shock as the doubled tourist tax came into force on May 1st.
Hoteliers admitted many guests were taken by surprise as they faced a charge of up to four euros a day and blame “lack of proper pre-warning and information” from the government.
The new rates for the increased tourist tax apply from May 1st until October 31st for all those over the age of 16. The daily price then decreases for the low season, being cut by 50 per cent.
This summer will also be the first time cruise ship passengers will be subject to the charge as part of the Balearic’s bid to bring in millions of euros of extra income. Total revenue of around 120 million euros is expected in 2018.
Hoteliers have already warned that the extra fee will make the islands less attractive to visitors who will seek out bargains elsewhere, particularly with the resurgence of destinations such as Tunisia or Egypt. They believe up to a million holidaymakers could be lost.
“Mallorca and the rest of the islands will lose competitiveness as a holiday destination with respect to Turkey, Egypt or Tunisia, which will devalue their currencies to be much more attractive for German and British tourism,” says president of the Hotel Federation of Mallorca, Gabriel Llobera.
However, the Balearic Government has told the Association of British Travel Agents that the “sustainable tourism tax” only represents between 1.4 to 2.1 per cent of the daily expenditure of tourists visiting the islands and the revenue, around 120 million euros in 2018, is being ploughed back into environ-mental projects.
The controversial tax was reintroduced in 2016 and tourism chiefs point out that it was set at the same level as when first charged but later dropped in 2011.
They have written to both ABTA and Germany’s equivalent, the DRV in defence of the charge to explain how the money is being spent, including on upgrading sewage treatment and water plants.
“The number of visitors coming to the Balearic Is-lands continues to rise year after year and this generates greater environmental impacts,” says the Balearic tourism department. “The revenues of the tax are primarily invested in environmental protection projects in order to substantially reduce these impacts and preserve our territory.”
The doubling of the tourist tax from May 1st will mean 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.
The tax decreases by 50 per cent on the ninth night of a holidaymaker’s stay.
For the first time, the Government will also charge cruise ship passengers if they 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 this alone is estimated to generate revenue of about 1.8 million euros.
The Balearic Government says the tax will still be “the lowest in Europe” compared to Brussels (average cost of eight euros), Florence (five euros ) and Amsterdam (three euros).