Balearic President Francesc Antich yesterday hailed the smooth introduction of the controversaial tourist tax on Wednesday. Antich made a special point of thanking those members of the media who canvassed the thoughts and opinions of the first foreign visitors to arrive in the Balearics under the new tourist tax regime, pointing out that the vast majority from outside Spain “agree with the tax providing that the money raised is spent on the environment, which is our objective.” “It's clear now that the biggest opposition the tax had was the cacophony of noise, tension neither helps the Balearics nor anybody else and if everything remains as normal over the next few days, we should be satisfied with the situation.” With regards to the hotel sector's decision to provide their clients with vouchers, Antich said that he hopes that all the legalities of the process have been studied “however, on principal, the government does not tell individual companies how to run their own businesses.” The German media, which has been the most outspoken critic of the tax, had little to criticise yesterday. The only newspaper which criticised the levy was Bild but the comments were much kinder than this time last year when the results of a survey carried out by the paper revealed that 84 per cent of its readers opposed the tax. In response, the newspaper urged its readers to write to King Juan Carlos, lobbying him to stop the tax. In other newspapers, the fact that tourists staying on boats were exempt from paying the tax was picked up and criticised while others focused on the fierce battle the hotel sector and the government have been fighting over the tax and how hoteliers still intend to push ahead with legal action in a bid to have the tax scrapped. Elsewhere in the European media, because of the hotel sector's decision to cover the cost of the tax, it has so far attracted little attention.

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