REVENUE raised from fining landlords who rent out their properties illegally should be used to plug any holes in local government finance according to hotel bosses on the Costa Blanca, who have come out in force against the notion of a tourist tax.
The advent of a tax now appears extremely unlikely following the unprecedented show of strength against even the whisper of such a proposal, which is in the preliminary stages of investigation by financial experts.
The most powerful figures of the Costa Blanca hotelier community were united in condemning the prospect of taxing hotel accommodation from 2017 as enormously far-fetched.
Nuria Montes, from Hosbec, said it was “unfair, arbitrary and would damage us greatly because it demonstrates a profound ignorance of the sector. Right now we are already selling stocks for the winter of 2017, so how can the tax be applied?”
Cristina Rodes, president of the Provincial Association of Hotels, said the government should focus more on fining illegal property rentals to raise funds “rather than punishing the self-regulated industry.”
Jose Maria Caballe, president of Servigroup, the largest hotel chain in the community however, was more understanding stating: “I am against rates but I understand that the government needs revenue.”
The controversy pits two of the year’s largest developments to affect expatriates against one another as regional governments across Spain battle to raise more income without upsetting voters.
Unregistered tourist rentals in Barcelona are being prosecuted, while a crackdown on the practice will be in place across Andalucia from May. Meanwhile an ‘eco tax’ aimed at tourists will hit Mallorca this summer.
Given the early outrage over the mere mention of a tourist tax in the Costa Blanca, the smart money would be on our region moving towards harsher penalties for unlicensed rentals in order to both protect and appease the hotel lobby.