Shopping list announced but money not yet in coffers

The Balearic government does not actually have the money from the controversial tourist tax in its coffers as yet, as the hoteliers are refusing to hand it over until the court hands down a decision, but it is continually announcing plans on what it is going to buy with it. Yesterday it was two buildings in Palma. Today it is land in the natural park of Mondragó which is still in private hands. Mondragó in the municipality of Santanyi is best known for its relatively unspoiled beach, but it also takes in an extensive area of woodland and farmland. There are several privately owned areas surrounded by government-held land and which have no access to public roads. They are known as enclavats and the government plans to purchase eight of them, all under two hectares, to complete the publicly-held domain of the park. This move was confirmed by Jaume Garau, the director general of tourist coordination, who said that talks are already underway with the owners. The news was welcomed by the president of the Parc de Mondragó land-owners association (there are other areas of the park, besides the enclavats which are still in private hands). He said that the owners themselves had wanted the government to purchase the enclavats when the area was first declared a park in 1992. He added that the owners of the land should now value it and the government “should accept this price, because at the time, the park was bought for an astronomical sum.” He also said that the other land owners of Mondragó were not happy with the government because it had failed to keep its promises. The tourist tax was introduced in May, despite stiff opposition from the hoteliers and tour operators. The hoteliers who have collected the tax are holding the money in the bank until a court rules on their appeal. The government, however, has announced plans to spend 130 million euros over the next three years. The money will be spent on purchasing historical buildings and tracts of countryside, and also on projects such as filling in disused quarries.

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