The Five Ws on the new Balearic Sustainable Tourism Tax

As you may have heard, the Balearic Government have introduced a new tourist tax. The name in Catalan is a bit of a mouthful: “Impost sobre estades turístiques a les Illes Balears i de mesures d’impuls del turisme sostenible” and it roughly translates into Sustainable Tourism Tax, but many people prefer to (incorrectly) refer to it as Eco tax or Ecotasa.

What is it?

The Sustainable Tourism Tax has been designed for a specific purpose: imposing a levy on the stays of visitors in tourist accommodation and homes marketed for tourist use as well as cruise ships in the Balearic Islands. The tax will be a small amount charged daily to visitors of the Balearic Islands.

Why?

The purpose of the tax is basically to compensate the Balearic society for the environmental cost involved in certain activities that distort or deteriorate the environment in the archipelago and to improve the competitiveness of the tourism sector by means of sustainable, responsible and high-quality tourism in the Balearic Islands. The funds will concentrate on:

  • Protecting, preserving and modernisation of the natural, rural and marine environment
  • Enabling a prolonged holiday season
  • Restoring historical and cultural heritage
  • Promoting research related to tourism
  • Improving training in the tourism sector
  • Investing in infrastructure and services

Who is liable to pay?

Any visitor to the Balearic Islands, 16 and over, is liable to pay the tourist tax, providing their stay is of a minimum of 12 hours. It is the responsibility of the accommodation owners to ensure the tourist pays the tax, which they then pay to the tax office. In most cases, visitors will pay to whoever they have signed their rental contract with – that would be us.

When?

The law has already been brought in, as of 2nd April. Visitors staying from 1st July 2016 onwards are liable to pay the tax.

Where?

In any of the following tourist establishments: hotels, holiday homes (villas or apartments), hostels, B&Bs, cruise ships etc. Each one of the aforementioned accommodations is charged a daily rate depending on the level of service and standard.

Final thoughts

The new tax is causing a bit of a stir amongst tour operators, travel agents and tabloids, predicting that it’ll damage the tourism industry in the Balearics as we know. At Prestige Villas, we don’t think it’s going to be that catastrophic and prefer to see it like a small donation that will help investing not just in infrastructures that are so crucial (think water desalination plants or more sustainable energy sources), but also help mitigate the impact of so many visitors while also improving what our islands have to offer and increase the value of our destination.

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