The German association of travel agents and tour operators, DRV, has instructed all its members to advise its clients coming on holiday to the Balearics this year to ask for and keep their tourist tax receipts. The DRV has taken such action in the event of the Constitutional Tribunal in Madrid reaching a decision that the Balearic tourist tax is unconstitutional, as claimed in the appeal lodged by central government, and orders that the tax be scrapped. Should that happen, the Balearic government can expect a huge flood of claims from holiday makers wanting their money back. There does however appear to be confusion in the German tourist industry over the tax. Market leaders TUI and Thomas Cook have advised their clients to make sure they return home with receipts. However, the middle market operators, such as Alltours, is instructing its clients not to pay the tax, proclaiming that it is up to the hoteliers to decide how they are going to account for the tax. Alltours says that its package holidays include all the relevant taxes and that if the hoteliers are going to charge the tax, then it will be their responsibility to inform their guests and collect it. Alltours has also made it clear that once it knows which of its hotels are charging the tax, it will inform its clients and offer them the choice of relocating to another hotel which does not charge the tax, or even another destination. All the other German tour operators are currently in contact with their hotels to find out which establishments are doing what about the tax. All German travel agents are being targeted by a massive mail shot informing them about the tax, but the tour operators are keen to know what the position of the Balearic hotel industry is over the tax. The DRV has also warned its members that there could be cases of clients refusing to pay the tax this summer, a concern also aired by the Association of British Travel Agents, ABTA. For that reason, the DRV has asked its members to establish what action their hotels intend to take as soon as possible to minimalise confusion. The DRV has warned that on refusing to pay the tax, a hotelier may refuse to accommodate a client, despite the package having already been paid for and it will be the tour operator, which the client signed a binding contract, that is sued with the court perhaps siding with the client. As reported yesterday, the Balearics' leading hotel chains have decided to comply with the law and collect the tax direct from their clients, but in compensation will offer discounts in the hotels to off-set the extra cost of the holiday. Amidst the confusion in Germany however, all the tour operators have launched a final push to try and boost bookings and fill their planes to the Balearics. The British market is up, but the German market is still in decline.

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