Tourists at a souvenir shop in Malaga. / FRANCIS SILVA

Malaga debates the introduction of a tourist tax

The city council has called on the Junta de Andalucía to study the necessary regulatory framework for the application of such a tax for those staying in hotels, apartments and tourist homes

Pilar Martínez
PILAR MARTÍNEZ Malaga

The debate on the application of a tourist tax has gained pace. The controversial issue arouses mixed feelings among different city and town councils, political parties and the accommodation sector itself.

Malaga and Seville have both recently discussed the issue, with mixed results. In the last plenary session, the government team in Malaga City Council rejected a proposal by Unidas Podemos to charge a tourist tax of one euro to visitors staying in the city.

The councillor for Tourism, Jacobo Florido, opposed the motion. He said: "Some 170,000 families make a living from tourism, which employs some 13,000 companies. The taxes paid by these businesses already go into the municipal coffers."

Unidas Podemos spokesperson Francisca Macías, regretted the lack of support from PP and Ciudadanos for this measure and recalled that what they were asking for was that "there should be a debate with those involved in the tourism sector and studies should be carried out to apply this tax of one or one and a half euros for the city". The PSOE approved the motion.

Despite these discrepancies, the council took a unanimous decision to demand that the central government and the Junta de Andalucía study the necessary regulatory framework for the application of this tax for those staying in hotels, flats and tourist homes.

The Mayor said on Wednesday, 20 July, that if the tax were to go ahead, it should be "applied to attracting tourism of the highest quality, which is what improves the coexistence of tourism with the city".

Carlos Pérez-Lanzac, president of the Andalusian Tourist Housing Association, said: "Entering a potential recession, with rising inflation prices, the energy crisis, and the volatility that still exists due to the war in Russia, I do not think it is the time to raise a tax as it may go against the competitiveness of Malaga as a destination".

Seville

In Seville, the council, on Wednesday, sought the backing of the city's tourism sector to activate the mechanisms that will allow it to set this tax.

The director of Tourism in Seville, Antonio Jiménez, said that "support has been obtained to open a working process to define the tax model. It has been made clear that it should not only be the hotels that collect the tax, but also the tourist activities, such as the visitors who come from other provinces to the city. It is important that we all work together".