Spain’s Balearic Islands look set to double their tourist tax next summer – but will freeze winter rates to avoid damaging low season business.
The government of Majorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera is due to raise the average summer visitor tax to €3 per person from January 1. A vote is due to take place at the end of the week.
“It still has to go before parliament, but the Balearic Islands’ government feel it is very likely that the tourism tax will be increased,” said a spokesperson.
The tax, introduced in July 2016, is used to help the islands cope with the damaging effects of tourism, something that has led to protests by locals this summer. In its first six months, €30 million was raised, financing environmental protection initiatives and a new water system to supply tourist areas.
If the new tariffs are approved, summer rates will be levied in the range of €1 for campers, €2 for cruise passengers, €3 for those in three and four-star hotels and €4 for those in higher quality accommodation. Low season rates between November and April will remain in the range of €0.25 to €1 per visitor.
The islands estimate that up to 73% of visitors stay in three or four-star hotels and that children under 16 are exempt, making the average family pay only €6 for a week’s stay. A 50% discount is given after the ninth day of stay at the same accommodation and cruise passengers whose ship has the Balearic Islands as its homeport are exempt.
A spokesperson said: “This corresponds to 1.4 to a maximum of 2.1% of the daily expenses of a tourist visiting Balearic Islands.” She added: “The tax is not going to increase in winter because we want to focus on the Balearics being a year-round destination.”