The Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) has called on the Balearic Islands to reconsider plans for an eco-tax on hire cars which is due to be introduced in the islands in April 2013.
The Balearic Islands plan this new tax of between €3 and €7.50 per day, dependent upon a vehicle’s CO2 emissions, which will add up €52.5 (£46) a week to the cost car hire in Mallorca, Ibiza,and Menorca.
Car hire customers will be expected to pay the tax when they collect their vehicle even if they have pre-paid the full cost of hire.
Abta got in touch with the Balearics Islands authorities this week seeking a delay on the new tax and asking them to reconsider its implementation. Nikki White, ABTA’s head of destinations and sustainability, commented: “Hasty decisions that don’t give travel businesses time to prepare and take tourists by surprise can have a very damaging impact. Taxing tourists does more harm than good in the long term.”
The Spanish tourism minister, Jose Manuel Soria, expressed his concerns about the new tax at World Travel Market in London last November, describing the levy as “unfair”. However, the Balearics’ conservative-led government seem to be intent on continuing with the tax which aims to raise €15 million a year.
This is not the first time the Balearics Islands has introduced an eco tax – it tried something similar 10 years ago. In May 2002 the islands imposed a tax of €1 per person per day on hotelswhich raised €12 million in the first year for use on regeneration projects. Children under 16 and pensioners were excluded. The tax was subsequently scrapped in November 2003, ironically by the conservative Popular Party, following a change of government.
The planned start date of 1 April 2013 for the new car rental tax is in doubt. ABTA has said: “It’s not yet clear when the tax will be implemented.”