The controversial tourist tax on the Balearics starts TOMORROW

Millions of visitors to the Balearic Islands face tourist tax mayhem from tomorrow as the controversial new charge comes into force. The tax will range between ‘ 2 ( 1.66) a day for customers staying in five-star establishments to 50 cents for hostels and shelters, with discounts of 50 per cent for stays in low season and longer than 20 days. In virtually all cases, holidaymakers will be asked to dip into their pockets when they arrive at reception or at least pay up before they return home.

The Controversial Tourist Tax On The Balearics Starts TOMORROW

From July 1st holidaymakers stopping overnight on the Balearic islands will have to dip into their pockets and pay a visitors tax

Children under 16 will not be charged but their parents will have to prove their age by showing their passports or any other document which confirms their identity and age. There will be other exemptions, such as for people who travel to the islands for health care or to help with any emergency or disaster but they too must fill in forms and in the case of health, produce a declaration signed by a doctor. Cruise ship passengers will have to pay per night from the moment their ship docks.

Every tourist will have to fill in a form and either pay in advance or during their stay at the hotel where they will be given receipts. It is still not clear what will happen with holidaymakers who go to the Balearics before July 1st but are still there tomorrow and beyond. The controversial tax applies to Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera and though it has been widely talked about, it will still come as a surprise to many visitors who will have to stump up the extra cash.

The Balearic government, which has faced major controversy over the charge, says the money will be spent on sustainable tourism projects across all four islands.

The Controversial Tourist Tax On The Balearics Starts TOMORROW

Though children under 16 will not be charged adults will pay a day-rate which will range in price dependent on the luxuriousness of the visitor’s accommodation

It is expected to bring in between ‘ 60million ( 49.7million) and ‘ 70million ( 57.8million) a year though only ‘ 40million ( 33million) to ‘ 50million ( 41million) this year because of the delay in implementation. The Association of British Travel Agents hasn’t been happy with the introduction of the new tax, fearing it will inadvertently drive visitors away.

‘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,’ said a spokesman. Travel firm Thomas Cook has been trying to keep its customers informed about the new tax.

Their latest bulletin to travellers was: ‘It is likely you’ll be asked to pay the tax when you check-in at your accommodation. The Government haven’t advised how this should be paid, but we’d recommend you take sufficient Euro currency to cover the cost.’

The Controversial Tourist Tax On The Balearics Starts TOMORROW

Some are exempt, like those stopping off for health or emergency reasons, but cruise ships are not. Pictured is Ibiza town’s harbour

Thomas Cook added on its travel news section: ‘The tax is something new and specifically aimed at tourists. It’s a cost beyond our control and the suppliers of the accommodation.

‘It’s a Government imposed tax that has to be paid when you stay in accommodation in the Balearic Islands.

Whilst our brochure and website Discount Holidays © holiday information does mention the possibility of local taxes like this, we understand this cost is something you probably weren’t expecting to pay and are sorry the Government has decided to bring this in so quickly. ‘

The Balearic Government says it has taken public comments and suggestions into account in drawing up the precise details which were published today.

The decree also tells hotel and accommodation owners how they need to collect the taxes, the paperwork required and when and how to reimburse the government.

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