Britain has woken up to the tourist tax, especially those heading out to the Balearics on holiday next week, when the tax will be introduced. Over the weekend a number of Sunday newspapers carried stories about the tax, all along the same lines that British tourists are going to “get hit in the pocket” and, in contrast to Germany where there has been a long and large public debate about the tax, most potential British tourists coming to the Balearics this year know little about the levy, how it works and how it will be spent. Balearic President Francesc Antich has written an explanatory letter which is being handed out in holiday brochures featuring the Balearics in Germany, but not in the UK. The Balearic Minister for Tourism, Celesti Alomar who apparently refuses to talk to British journalists if they are going to ask him about the tax, arrives in Germany today to explain the tax to consumers. Yesterday it was announced that hotels in the Balearics will be providing their guests with vouchers to the value of the total tax they will have to pay for their stay. For example, with three-star hotel guests having to pay a euro per night, they will receive a voucher worth seven euros which can then be spent in the hotel. Hoteliers will also be offering discounted or free in-house services to compensate their guests for the financial outlay on the tax, which will have to paid on arrival. The director general of the Spanish association of tour operators, Ruperto Doñat, said yesterday that Tunisia, Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia have hit the Balearic holiday market hard this summer, winning the battle armed with much more competitive holiday prices. While the focus has been on the reaction of the UK and German markets to the tourist tax, all visitors from mainland Spain staying in a Balearics hotel will also have to pay the tax, along with all Balearics residents spending a weekend or short break in a local hotel. Domestic reaction from Spanish nationals who are already taxed for the environment, having to pay yet more money in their own country has obviously concerned Spanish tour operators.

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