Majorca set to double tourist tax as protests demand holidaymakers 'go home'
The Balearic Islands plan to double their tourist tax during the peak season in an effort to tackle overcrowding.
The archipelago has seen a huge rise in overseas arrivals this year, prompting calls for measures to protect the region from unchecked growth and environmental damage.
Mallorca, the largest of the four main Balearic Islands, was the scene of an anti-tourist protest last month, with demonstrators in the capital Palma demanding holidaymakers “go home”.
Raising the tourist tax to as much as €4 per person per day, depending on the type of accommodation used, will help fund ecological projects, authorities say, as well as encourage holidaymakers to visit out of season.
A local parliament vote on the changes is taking place later this week, with a view to raising the tariffs in January.
The new rates, if approved, will be €1 per person per day for campers and hostel guests, €2 for cruise passengers and those staying in cheaper hotels and apartments, €3 for mid-range accommodation, and €4 for top-end hotels.
Those under the age of 16 will be exempt and rates will be reduced during the winter months (November-April).
A record 7.9 million people visited the Balearic Islands between January and July this year, up 7.5 per cent on the same period in 2016. As many as 500 cruise ships now dock in Palma each year, depositing up to 22,000 passengers a day.
According to Pilar Carbonell, general director of tourism for the region, the eco-tax added €30 million to government coffers between July and December last year.
80pc of this was used to finance a total of 46 environmental initiatives, while the remainder was used to promote sustainable holidays and train tourism workers.
“Our mission is to support a sustainable model so that tourism to the islands benefits our local communities,” she said.
“We are aware of the seasonal challenges and in particular, the oversaturation of tourists in specific areas during the peak summer months. This is a concern for residents and local businesses and we are looking into a series of measures to address this.”