Yesterday, I had the pleasure of having breakfast with the Mayor of Palma, Joan Fageda. He said something which I found rather curious. “Every year millions of tourists visit the city and naturally we have to provide greater public services, such as more police, buses etc. “This burden is too much for the Palma resident to pay and therefore I believe that tourists should pay some form of tax.” Now, the Mayor is opposed to the local government's tourist tax but he does believe that holidaymakers should pay some form of surcharge. But millions of tourists visiting Palma are bringing in many millions of pesetas in revenue which is spent in local businesses from cafes and bars to department stores and shops. Without the tourist trade I doubt that Palma would have so many shops and therefore, we the residents, are benefiting from this state of affairs. Now, I understand that extra police have to be on duty during the summer but that is a good thing.

You get the impression, not from the Mayor but from other local politicians, these days that tourists are a form of “parasite”. The local minister for tourism Celesti Alomar would like to see a 20 per cent reduction in mass tourism. The reason the Balearics have one of the highest standards of living in Spain is because of tourism. Any reduction in tourism is clearly reflected on the local economy. Making tourists pay is not the answer, central government should return more of the money which is paid in taxes every year and invest in the Balearics.

Jason Moore

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