Tourist tax introduced to conserve popular Spanish islands

The new charge will come into place this summer in a bid to conserve the Balearic Archipelago

Rachael Pells
Sunday 24 April 2016 13:46 BST
Spanish officials say the tax will be used to protect islands including Mallorca
Spanish officials say the tax will be used to protect islands including Mallorca

Tourists planning summer holidays to three of Spain's most popular islands - Mallorca, Menorca and Ibiza - will be asked to pay a new tax in a bid to conserve some of the country's most popular islands. The Balearic islands receive more than three million British tourists every year.

The “green tax” is currently being prepared by the Balearics' government as part of a drive to protect the islands' strained ecosystem.

After July 1 this year, visitors will be asked to pay a daily fee of up to two Euros (around £1.60) per person. That applies to the most expensive apartments and hotels in peak season; lower taxes are applied to lesser accommodation. It will apply to travellers aged 14 and over.

The tax – which was first announced last year - has been criticised by travel firms and consumer watchdogs, who say the added fee could cost make a significant difference to families planning holidays on a tight budget this summer.

Fred Isaac, of the Consumer Action website, said: “This will hurt families the most, and they already face inflated prices during school holidays.”

Authorities say the tax will go towards preserving natural heritage. Last year Biel Barcelo, vice president of the islands’ coalition government, said the tax will be applied “with or without the help of the Spanish state”, since it is “absolutely necessary” to conserve the Balearic archipelago.

After the initial proposals were received badly last year, it is now planned for the tax to halve in cost after the ninth day of each stay, meaning a family of four with children over the age of 16 will pay up to £70 extra.

In Malta, a charge of €0.50 (40p) per night comes into place from June, but will be capped at €5 (£4).

Abta, the travel association, said it "had concerns" about the tax, adding it could: 'have the unintended consequence of driving tourists away from the islands."

A spokesperson said: "Safeguarding the environment of the islands has to be a high priority but this tax is not the most sensible way to fund these efforts."

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