The Balearic hotel sector, which is standing firm in its opposition to the tourist tax, yesterday received a boost of confidence from the association of Spanish tourist hotels (ZONTUR) which slammed the tax as “completely unfair and discriminatory.” ZONTUR, which represents 3.000 hotels claims that the Balearic government's proposal will only account for 60 per cent of tourists coming to the Balearics and that by having the tax collected in hotels, the accommodation sector will be severely effected. ZONTUR fears that the tax will have a highly negative effect on the hotel sector's level of competitiveness and that the Balearics will lose out to other destinations on mainland Spain and across the Mediterranean. The association believes that the costs of protecting and improving the environment should be accounted for by local government budgets. ZONTUR also warned that if the Balearic government goes ahead and introduces the tax, the hotel sector will reveal how the local government failed in its bid to obtain extra funding from Madrid. “They (the government) have opted for the easy option which is to make those coming to the Balearics pay, ignoring the illegal section of the market and the wishes of all the commercial sectors which live off the tourist industry which accounts for 86 per cent of the Balearics' gross national product.” Chief Minister Francesc Antich is not backing down. Yesterday he responded to ZONTUR's attack by calling on the local hoteliers to reconsider their stance “in the best interests of everybody.”

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