The Sustainable Tourism Tax will hit tourists staying in hotels, apartments as well as visitors on cruise ships from May 1 to October 31 – high season on the islands.
The tax will range from two euros a night for those staying in one or two-star accommodation to four euros a night for those staying in four-star plus hotels. Cruise ship passengers will pay two euros per stay and those staying in hostels will pay one euro per night.
People renting apartments will have to pay between two and four euros per night depending on the quality of the accommodation.
The first day of the new, increased tax on May 1 saw many tourists unaware of the increased fees they would have to pay, Spanish media reported.
Spanish daily El Mundo reported that one tourist refused to pay the tax at a hotel in Palma, Mallorca, arguing he had not been informed of the increased price. The hotel reportedly ended up saying it would pay the difference to calm the guest.
The aim of the tax is to help protect the islands’ environments, which are under particular strain as the number of visitors rises year on year.
Record-breaking tourist numbers
In 2017, Spain welcomed a record-breaking 82 million tourists, making it the second most-visited country in the world, after France.
The country’s most popular destinations are the Balearic Islands and Catalonia.
The Balearic regional government is hoping to make €120 million from the rise in tourism taxes but has faced criticism from hotel associations, which fear that the new taxes could turn tourists off Spain and onto cheaper destinations such as Egypt and Turkey.
There has been a wave of anti-tourist sentiment in cities across Spain, as a steep rise in visitors has affected local amenities, especially access to rental properties in city centres.
In April, the Mallorcan capital Palma announced it was to ban Airbnb-style holiday rentals after studies found that they had contributed to a steep rise in rental prices and were having a detrimental effect on locals.