This week I was with the Balearic minister for tourism, Bel Busquets, discussing the tourist tax. The local government are satisfied that they have managed to introduce this levy with few problems and few complaints from tourists. Busquets says that the tax is a small price to pay for helping to maintain Majorca as a paradise island. I am inclined to agree. An estimated 100 million euros are being raised and being spent on a whole series of projects across the islands.
In some ways it has given the Balearic government additional spending power to carry out a series of small projects which will benefit all. Busquets believes that holidaymakers understand that the money from the tourist tax is being used to help erase the footprint left by tourism over the last 30 years. Despite the initial opposition from hoteliers, the tax does appear to have been accepted by the local tourist industry and local political parties. In fact there is almost all-party support for the levy. The opposition Partido Popular, which has always been a fierce critic of the tax, has not said that it would withdraw it if it gains power in next year's elections. After the first tourist tax was introduced in 2002, the first thing that the Partido Popular did when it returned to power the following year was to scrap the tax. But times have changed and holiday destinations across the globe have introduced similar charges. It looks as if the tax is here to stay and in some ways the Balearics will benefit.