Frantic hoteliers in Majorca and Ibiza are calling on the Balearic Government to scrap its controversial tourist tax immediately, claiming the nightly charge is a ‘serious threat’ to the future of the islands.
They are making their call amid revelations that the start of this year’s season is being postponed for six weeks due to a number of factors, including Easter falling in late April, a massive fall in the number of British holidaymakers, worries about Brexit and the continued resurgence of markets such as Turkey and Egypt.
The three main hotel associations in the Balearics want the immediate withdrawal of the tourist tax, which was reintroduced in 2016 and then doubled in 2018.
Frantic hoteliers in Majorca and Ibiza are calling on the Balearic Government to scrap its controversial tourist tax immediately, claiming the nightly charge is a ‘serious threat’ to the future of the islands
It means holidaymakers are charged between two and five euros extra each night they stay in Majorca, Menorca or Ibiza, payable at the hotel receptions at the start or end of their break.
‘Those decisions could not have been more inappropriate given the uncertainty looming over the sector could already be glimpsed,’ said a spokesman for the Hotel Business Federation of Majorca (FEHM), the Hotel Business Federation of Ibiza and Formentera (FEHIF) and the Hotel Association of Menorca (Ashome).
They say they have warned time and time again since 2016 that the tourist tax would harm the islands and claim this is now proving true.
‘The Brexit process in the United Kingdom directly affects the reserves of one of our main markets, which in the period from January to November 2018 has registered a decrease in the islands of 1.5 per cent, in Menorca minus ten per cent and for the 2019 season is even more pronounced,’ said the spokesman.
The gradual recovery of destinations on the southern and eastern shores of the Mediterranean was also hitting hard, with the arrival of tourists to Turkey increasing by 21.6 per cent from January to September 2018 and to Egypt by 41.5 per cent between January and July.
On top of all this, the outlook is so bad that the season won’t be starting in March but for Easter in late April, with the fall of German, British and Nordic tourism being a major contributory factor.
Holidaymakers are charged between two and five euros extra each night they stay in Majorca, Menorca or Ibiza, payable at the hotel receptions at the start or end of their break
The three Balearic hotel associations say the islands’ government has to listen to them – and scrapping the tourist tax must be a priority.
‘It does not make sense to tax tourists with a tax that was theoretically born with the aim of alleviating the footprint of tourism in the Balearic Islands, an objective that is far from reality,’ say the groups.
‘It has been shown that the projects financed by the tax have nothing to do with tourism and the environment.’
The hoteliers also want new measures to speed up hotel refurbishments and less red tape, and more control over illegal tourist rentals and more inspections and fines.