Well, the tourist tax finally came into force yesterday but the only problem was that few tourists actually knew it existed. This sad state of affairs is a terrible reflection on the travel industry and the local authorities. Why weren't people told when they booked their holiday that they would have to pay a surcharge? Why weren't they told aboard the plane carrying them to Majorca that the tourist tax had come into force. Why doesn't the leaflet being distributed at the airport make any mention of the tax, just the projects which will be undertaken as a result of all the extra funding? The list is endless. Even though the tourist tax issue has been knocking about for at least two years and everyone in authority has commented on it, the only people who didn't have a clue were those who ultimately will have to pay. Not even mainland Spaniards who arrived on holiday yesterday knew about the tax. One poor lady assured me that it didn't bother her because she said that it probably had been included in the cost of her holiday.... The biggest critics were the Spanish and I can see their point because after all it could be argued that their taxes help pay for many projects in the Balearic Islands.

The tourist tax is a big gamble, probably the greatest ever taken by the tourist industry. I suspect that most people will pay without too much fuss but they also want to know that their money is being well spent. What is needed from the local authorities is plenty of information on all the projects which are being financed thanks to the tax, otherwise I am sure that the whole issue will blow up in their faces. We can't have a repeat of the complete lack of information which has heralded the introduction of the tax. Tourists will want to know that their money is not being squandered on pointless projects which are of little use to anyone. May 1 will be an important day in the Balearic calendar, let's just hope that it marks the start of a new era and not a continuation of years of decline.

And continuing with the May Day blues, I witnessed this week the depressing sight of some of London's famous shops and hotels boarding up their windows ahead of the May Day anti-capitalist demonstration. I just feel that it is a great shame how May 1 has been hijacked by a group of mindless anarchists who have no real agenda but to cause mayhem and hurt private businesses. I just cannot understand how breaking shop windows etc can be described as serving a cause. There are some nasty sides to capitalism but going on the rampage is not the way forward. Let us have a return to the May Day of old of peaceful protests and of workers rights. I just can't understand how a few hundred people can hold the world's cities to ransom with a cause which few people really understand.

Jason Moore

More about the tourist tax

Dear Sir,
Regarding the ecotax, surely it is about time that someone said clearly what is happening. This is a tax levied on the hotel based on occupancy. It is not a tax on the tourist and the government is sending a smokescreen on this point. The hotelier will have to pay, based on his occupancy, regardless of whether he is able to pass the tax on to the client. Given that 95 per cent of all tourists staying at hotels or officially recognised apartments (hereinafter tourist accommodation) arrive via a tour operator on a “fully inclusive tour basis”, the problem facing the hotel is how he can pass this on to anyone. The Antich government have refused to even look at this problem. The holidaymaker in most cases will not pay anything to the hotel as he is on a fully inclusive tour (FIT). It is therefore not so simple to add the ecotax to his bill as he might not have a bill at all. The tour operator may well refuse to accept any addition to his agreed price for his client (the holidaymaker), and the hotelier is faced with this problem. Regardless, he cannot escape payment to the local Government. What is to my mind totally unacceptable is that the Antich government are still unable to say what they are going to do with the income from the ecotax. In other words they are collecting a tax under the “green” banner without saying what they are going to do with the resultant 60'000 million pesetas. Before they even start the Farmers Union is demanding at least fifty percent of the income alleging that they look after the countryside and the landscape. This despite the fact that they are responsible for all of the detritus that one sees in the countryside. The tourists do not dump old cars, fridges, mattresses, rubbish etc in the countryside – the locals do. Very few tourists will pay anything towards this iniquitous tax, even those who agree with the principle. This should be a tax levied, if necessary, through the whole of Spain, not just by this gang that we have to put up with in Majorca.

Ian McIntosh

Dear Sir,
I 've just monitored the situation and spoken to customers about the tourist tax since it began, most don't seem to mind but we're more interested to know where the extra funds will be going. Will the Bulletin be showing a list of accounts? If not, where can one obtain a copy of these figures?

J. Greenall

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