‘Eco-tax’ could force holidaymakers to go elsewhere

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Flickr, PSM-Entesa
File: Biel Barcelo

THE British press has been one of the first to criticise the so-called eco-tax planned for the Balearic Islands.

The Mirror complains that it will make holidaying on the islands more expensive, explaining that at a proposed rate of €2 per person per day, this could increase the price of a holiday for a family of four by around €110.

The regional government has said that the tax will be enforced from next year, despite strong opposition from the tourism sector.

Vice-President and Councillor for Innovation, Investigation and Tourism, Biel Barcelo, explained that the ‘ecotasa’ law supposedly aims to minimalise the effect which tourism has on the environment and would be charged to all staying in a hotel or tourist apartment, meaning some €15 billion could be received every year. This, the new government has said, would be to solve problems with rubbish, water and energy, and improve the management of protected natural areas.

Those who oppose the plan say that this will not compensate for the millions of euros in losses which businesses may face if tourists decide not to come to the islands and favour cheaper destinations.

The plan is for it to be charged in hotels and tourist apartments due to the complexity of doing so at airports and ports, or to add it to the price of tickets and package tours.

Barcelo has said that so far, no dates have been set to bring the tax into effect and that talks will be held with all affected parties so they can work on it together.

The Mirror goes on to include statements from the Consumer Action website which believed the tax will affect families who face already high prices during peak season and will be especially negative for those on a tight budget.

The tax, which will also apply to local residents who stay in tourist accommodation, will vary depending on high and low seasons, type of accommodation and age. Children and pensioners may pay less than adults.

Balearic Government spokesman, Marc Pons, said the tax also had to apply to local residents as EU law does not allow for distinctions based on the person’s origin. This, opposing voices suggest, will also make locals go elsewhere.

Pons also said that the regional government was studying how to apply the law to holiday homes.

Barcelo said “It will be enforced with or without the help of the Spanish State. It is absolutely necessary.”

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