Marga Prohens, leader of the Partido Popular in the Balearics at the Fitur tourism fair in Madrid in January 2023. | MDB

On Saturday, the main opposition party in the Balearic parliament, the Partido Popular, will present its manifesto for the election on May 28. Some advance notice has been given to its content, especially with regard to tourism policy, one aspect of which is the tourist tax. The PP say that they will maintain the tax but adjust it for the low season and ensure that revenue raised is for two purposes - environmental sustainability and improvement of tourist areas. They will also look at ways of removing the requirement for residents of the Balearics to have to pay the tax.

When the tax was introduced in 2016, the original intention was that residents wouldn't have to pay, but EU non-discrimination rules meant that they had to. The PP's decision to continue with the tax is unlike the situation in 2003, when the party won the election and scrapped the ecotax that had been brought in the year before. While the party opposed the 2016 tax, it subsequently modified its position. So, now saying that the tax will be maintained isn't a surprise. As to the low season, for which the tax rate is a quarter of what it is between May and October, the PP have suggested in the past that they might do away with the tax.

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On other aspects of tourism, the PP accept that there cannot be limitless growth but would repeal the current moratorium on additional accommodation places (some 18,000 or so for the whole of the Balearics) and allow island councils to determine the ceiling for the total number of places.

The PP are also in favour of the conversion of obsolete hotels to residential accommodation, with the proviso that this is for VPO protected homes and not ones to be made available on the open market.