SPAIN: Menorca debates eco-tax on tourists

The Balearic Islands' regional government is considering a pilot eco-tax to be levied on tourists visiting Menorca. The tax would be used to establish national parks and restore coastline damaged by years of mass tourism.

Expected to be no more than 2,000pts (£7.90) per person, it has not been decided whether the tax will be payable at airports or at hotels. Many Menorcan hoteliers support the proposed tax, although some have expressed dislike of the possibility that hotel staff will be responsible for collecting the tax.

“The basic idea is to set up national parks and use the money from the tax to fund them,” a spokesperson at the Spanish Tourist Office in London told edie. “Nothing has been decided and they’re going to take a softly, softly approach. This government was only recently elected and they don’t want to upset anyone. It is an open debate and the government is consulting with tourist organisations – not just local tourist organisations but international ones as well.”

The current Balearic Islands’ regional government was elected in June.

Menorca receives visits from more than 800,000 tourists every year, with 660,000 coming from the UK.

If the Menorcan pilot, to be introduced no earlier than spring 2000, is successful the scheme may be extended to Mallorca and Ibiza. Should the tax go ahead, it will be the first such eco-tax to be introduced in the EU.

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