Tourists on Calle Larios in Malaga. / FRANCIS SILVA

Costa del Sol tourism board rejects tourist tax proposal, saying 'now is not the right time'

Francisco Salado, president of Turismo Costa del Sol, said: 'we must implement measures that increase our competitiveness and not reduce it'

The Costa del Sol tourism board has rejected the idea of imposing a tourist tax on holidaymakers but the body has said a debate is needed on improving the financing of tourist areas.

Francisco Salado, president of Turismo Costa del Sol, said: “We are in the midst of a process of recovery from the coronavirus pandemic that has severely damaged the tourism sector, so it is not the right time to introduce new taxes and fees for the sector that has been hardest hit by the health crisis.

"It would negatively affect the image of the Costa del Sol and could mean, in the opinion of the members of the standing committee, a loss of competitiveness, which could even negatively modify the intention of tourists to travel to this destination by having to face an additional expense".

In view of these considerations, the president of Costa del Sol Tourism has pointed out that "we must implement measures that reinforce competitiveness and not reduce it. We must be responsible and prudent and help to consolidate the economic recovery in a sector from which, remember, 14,000 companies and 117,000 families in the province live".

In the last plenary session of Malaga City Council, United Podemos for Malaga, presented a motion to set a tax of between one and two euros per stay in the capital, which would mean an income of between five and ten million euros. The proposal, which was backed by the PSOE, was rejected.

Debate

However, it opened a debate which led to a unanimous vote to demand that the central government and the Junta de Andalucía study, in agreement with the town councils and the tourism sector assess the necessary regulatory framework for the application of this tax for those staying in hotels and in other accomodation.

The Mayor of Malaga, Francisco de la Torre, said such a tax would need the consensus of the sector and that "if it were to be implemented, it would be applied to attract tourism of the highest quality, which would improve the coexistence of tourism with the city".

The proposal was slammed by the an association of Costa del Sol hoteliers (Aehcos) but they made the point that if a tax is implemented it should apply to overnight visitors as well as day-trippers.

Cities such as Barcelona, Palma, Berlin, Marseille and Rome have been applying a tourist tax for years in different ways and for different purposes. The Italian tourist hotspots of Venice, Lampedusa, Civita di Bagnoregio, and Capri introduced a tourist tax, of between 2.5 and 10 euros, to compensate for the effects of the massive influx of day-trippers.