The woman who was in charge of tourism in Spain for five years, Reyes Maroto is now standing for mayor of the country’s capital, Madrid which attracts millions of visitors every year, including an army of Brits. She has stirred controversy by suggesting she would consider introducing a tourist tax if elected, a suggestion which has already infuriated hoteliers.
She has stirred controversy by suggesting she would consider introducing a tourist tax if elected, a suggestion which has already infuriated hoteliers.
The former Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism said she was in favour of introducing a tourist tax, payable per night by most holidaymakers, but stressed: « The tourist tax does not have to be merely a tax, it has to be a tax that reverts to the tourism industry. »
Reyes Maroto was talking during a breakfast forum in Madrid. A tourist tax was first proposed for the city in 2015 and 2018 but never introduced.
“The most important thing is to know why, » she said.
Her comments at the forum were reported by the leading tourism media, Hosteltur.com
The Madrid Hotel Business Association immediately signalled its opposition to the idea, claiming it would directly harm the hotel sector and visitors.
« Madrid is booming and becoming one of the most desired destinations for national and international tourists with a large hotel investment, without the need for a tourist tax, » said its president, Gabriel Garcia Alonso.
Many parts of Spain are also considering a new tourist tax. Catalonia and the Balearic Islands, which include Mallorca and Ibiza, implemented the tax in 2012 and 2016, respectively.
In November 2022, Valencia approved the tax which will come into force in December of this year and will range between 0.5 and 2 euros per day depending on the type and category of the accommodation in which people stay in.
However, it will be up to individual councils to decide if they want a tourist tax or not: Benidorm has already said a resounding « no! »
Galicia and San Sebastian are two other regions of Spain considering introducing a tourist tax.