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Tourist tax: A convenient source of tax revenue or an effective way to help the environment?

Some of our favourite holiday destinations have plans to introduce a ‘tourist tax’ read below to see if you may be affected this summer. The popular tourist destinations of Majorca, Menorca and Ibiza recently introduced the so called ‘tourist tax’ with the aim of protecting and conserving the Balearic Island’s eco system.
Many tourists have been left unhappy at this added, unexpected cost to their summer holiday and they won’t be the only ones. From 1st June 2016 Malta is set to follow suit, with the introduction of their own tourist tax of 50 cents or 40p per night, per tourist. The government, working with the Malta Hotels and Restaurants' Association (MHRA), state that the tax is an environmental contribution to aid the preservation of the island and it will be collected as part of your hotel stay.

Barcelona is also keen to reap the possible financial benefits of taxing tourists with the latest plans to introduce a tax for day-trippers. Barcelona has created revenue from tax since 2012, but this has until now been applicable only if you were staying over night in the city. However the new left wing mayor Ada Colau has made plans to tax tourists arriving in Barcelona for the day, by cruise ship, coach or car. She hopes the tax will raise millions of Euros for the city.

tourist tax

This has left many in the tourist sector feeling confused and frustrated at yet another way of targeting tourists, who we mustn’t forget contribute around 14% of the city’s revenue. Tourists create employment in the city and therefore can boost the economy, but it is felt strongly by residents of Barcelona that tourists can have a detrimental effect on their city. Tourists can push up the cost of rent and indirectly cause a lack of housing for local people. There are also the added costs of infrastructure, security and cleaning that tourists bring.

With Madrid and the Canary Islands also considering implementing a tourist tax, this seems a trend set to continue. Some may question the wisdom of the Spanish authorities, as tourism is a lucrative industry. Will the new tourist taxes end up driving visitors away? Will visitors simple get frustrated with being a seemingly easy target to tax? Or will tourists understand the pressures of sustaining some of our favourite holiday destinations for generations to come. The answers to these questions may well take some time to be answered.

See more on Spain's Balearic Island Tourist Tax here.
Kellie Hodge
Posted: May 10, 2016 by Kellie Hodge
About the Author -

Travel writer, customer service guru, Kellie knows the ins and outs of car rental and always happy to share her knowledge on our blog. Favourite country to visit: Spain.

Last updated: Friday, July 3, 2020
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