Arturo Bernal / sur

"This is not the time to talk about a tourism tax," Junta de Andalucía says

The regional government's Minister for Tourism and Culture insists that problems like the drought and water supplies need to be tackled because they are far more important

EUROPA PRESS Seville

The Junta de Andalucía’s Minister for Tourism and Culture, Arturo Bernal, reiterated on Wednesday that “this is not the time” to talk about introducing a tourism tax in the region. “We need to focus on what is important,” he said, referring to issues such as the drought and possible water supply problems which are causing so much concern in Andalucía.

“I believe we have problems which are so important that we need to be dealing with them in the next year and a half, and there is no point in diverting attention to other issues,” he told the media in Malaga, where he attended the inauguration of Seatrade Cruise Med.

He had already made his position clear on Tuesday, when he said “This is not the time for a tourism tax. People talk about a tourism tax when demand is at its peak but we need to put it into context. Demand may be high, but the results for the sector are not as good as they could be. Costs have gone up and we have galloping inflation and this is all very worrying”.

He insisted that problems such as the water supply need to be tackled ahead of anything else, “because the availability and consumption of water are as important to us as gas is to Germany”.

He then went on to say that people do not appreciate the importance of water in a region like Andalucía, “where the principal sources of wealth are agriculture and services, in this case, tourism”.