Balearics approves new eco-tax on tourists

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The Balearic Parliament has approved an eco-tax of up to €2 per day, effective from July 1.

The islands announced plans for the Sustainable Tourism Tax, intended to help preserve their environment, towards the end of last year.

It could add £80 to the cost of a two-week holiday for a family of four to the Balearics, which attract almost 3.5 million visitors from the UK each year.

The destination scrapped a similar tax in 2003 just one year after it was introduced, because it was deterring holidaymakers.

All overnight stays in “tourist accommodation” will be subject to the tax.

The tax costs from €1 per day for stays in one-star to three-star hotels and cruise ships, to €2 for stays in some four-star and five-star hotels.

Stays in high end apartments will also cost €1-€2 per day and holiday rentals and campsites will also fall under the tax.

The islands’ vice-president and tourism minister, Biel Barceló, said: “With the help of the tax revenue, we will be able to maintain and improve the quality of tourism on the Balearics.

“We are grateful that our visitors will help to protect and preserve this little paradise with this small contribution.”

The Balearic government said a family of four with two children under 16 staying in high season for eight days in a four-star hotel will have to pay just over €23 in total, or €15.40 in a three-star hotel.

“This represents a maximum surcharge of no more than 1.4% of the respective holiday budget,” said Barceló.

Children aged under 16 will be exempt from the tax and during low season (November 1-April 30), there will be a 50% discount.

Tax payable by long-term holidaymakers will be reduced to 50% from the ninth day of their stay.

The government said it will be able to “make major investments to compensate the territorial and environmental impact of tourism” with the tax money.

“The revenue raised by the tax will therefore allow us to reclaim our heritage, to change towards a model of sustainable tourism, to extend the season and improve innovation and training in tourism,” said the Balearic government in a statement. 

A final decision about which of the project proposals will be accepted will be taken by the Commission for the Promotion of Sustainable Tourism, comprising administrative representative from the different islands, business associations, trade unionists, environmental protectionists and others.

The government is also developing a specific website on the tax which will provide visitors, tour operators and locals a way of monitoring how the funds raised are being used and of the different projects and initiatives that will be developed.

It will be the responsibility of the hotel to pass the revenue on to the regional government.

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