Balearic hoteliers claim that they have been left with no option but to cover the costs of the tourist tax themselves and not charge their clients. A source at the Majorcan Hotel Federation, revealed yesterday that the Balearic government's snap decision on Tuesday to enforce the tax on May 1, has left hoteliers with not enough time to reach an agreement over payments of the tax with tour operators, many of which have washed their hands of the levy. There are some 1'000 hotels in the Balearics and 600 hotel owners, many of them independent, will cover the costs of the tax. “We've been left with no way out by the government because very few of us are in a position to inform the tour operators that the price of their holidays has just gone up,” the source said. Many of the independent hoteliers feel that their bargaining power with the tour operators has been weakened by the tax and few, in the face of a poor and uncertain summer season ahead, want to start rocking the boat further by telling tour companies and consumers that their holidays will be in fact more expensive. The hotel sector however intends to take legal action against the government over the tax. Once the first tax audits have been made in September, hotel owners intend to flood the local appeals court with legal action, bringing the whole process to a stand still and forcing a new debate over the future of the tax. Balearic Tourism Minister Celesti Alomar, said yesterday that once the tax has been introduced, the main priority is to ease the tension in the tourist industry. He claimed that the application of the tax, after nearly two years of heated debate, will have a “calming” effect on the industry. Opposition Partido Popular spokesperson, ex-Tourism Minister Joan Flaquer, accused the government of “electioneering” with the tourist tax. Alomar said he can understand Flaquer's concerns for the elections, “considering they lost the last one.”

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