The Balearic Minister for Tourism Celesti Alomar has probably received his biggest boost yet over the proposed tourist tax with 64 percent of British tourists prepared to pay between £10 and £25 extra for environmental, social and charity guarantees. Research conducted by MORI for the Association of British Travel Agents, ABTA, suggests that the majority of British tourists would be perpared to pay a tourist tax, despite the fact that £10 to £25 extra represents a 2-5 percent increase on a holiday of £500. The report has “surprised” ABTA which has been very wary of the Balearics introducing the controversial tourist tax next summer and ABTA urged caution over the figure. “One thing is what people say, the other is what they do, when asked nobody is going to say they wish to harm the environment,” an ABTA spokesperson said yesterday. But, ABTA admitted that the research does provide food for thought for the tour companies and of course the Majorcan hotel sector which is opposed to the tax and convinced it will mean a decrease in business. The report indicates that sustainable tourism is an important goal for British tourists and 85 percent believe it is important not to damage the environment. 77 percent think that it is important that their visits include experience of local culture and food and 71 percent feel that tourism should benefit the peopleof the destination visited, through jobs and business opportunities. Demonstrating their commitment to world-wide environmental initiatives, 84 percent of UK holidaymakers, 42 percent of which visited Spain, the Balearic and the Canaries this year, on their last package holiday ensured that they left no litter and 36 percent saved water by showering instead of taking a bath, 18 percent switched off air conditioning to save energy and 17 percent decided not to have their hotel towels washed so often for environmental reasons.

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