UK wants to add £1 to package holiday prices

Under new proposals by the British government, not only will British holidaymakers to the Balearics be paying the tourist tax, so too will the tour operators. The UK's main tour operators are being urged to give travellers the chance to contribute £1 on a voluntary basis for each package holiday purchased. But tour operators say they will not implement the scheme, which would involve sending money to fund projects that offset the damaging effect on the environment and cultures at tourist destinations. Britain's tour operators made their opposition to the Balearic tourist tax clear and intend to fight the new proposals in the UK. They argue that the practicalities of collecting cash are too complicated. But earlier last week at the ABTA conference in Egypt, Jonathon Porritt, Tony Blair's chief environment adviser, said “Even if consumers just paid 50p to £1, with 50 million-odd holidays being bought each year, this makes an enormous total. “At the moment, the industry is operating a conspiracy of denial regarding the effect it has on the environment.” But while ABTA spoke out against the Balearic tourist tax, it backs the principle of a £1 charge but says it is down to operators to organise collecting cash. MyTravel, Cosmos, First Choice and Thomas Cook all support the proposal but each says it would require a collective agreement among operators before they would create “green boxes” on holiday booking forms. They have each signed up to a project called the Sustainable Tourism Initiative, run by the Responsible Tourism Foundation, a charity, which backs such a plan. Britain's green holiday scheme however, could back fire on holidays to destinations such as the Balearics where clients are already paying a tourist tax. Quite simply tourists will opt not to pay the extra if they will have to pay a tourist tax on arrival at their hotel.

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