Areas of Spain that will cost UK holidaymakers more to visit due to ‘tourist tax’
Several popular Spanish resorts have introduced tourist taxes for holidaymakers
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Several popular Spanish resorts have introduced a ‘tourist tax’, which requires visitors to pay a charge for staying overnight.
The tariff is seen as a way of raising more money for regions which will be put back into tourism, although hoteliers are opposed to the tax amid concerns it could put tourists off visiting by adding to budgets.
Catalonia, which includes Barcelona, and the Balearic Islands, including Mallorca and Ibiza, implemented such a tax in 2012 and 2016 respectively, requiring tourists to pay up to €4.00 (£3.50) per night during their stay.
In 2021, the regional government approved an increase in the surcharge to allow Barcelona city council to charge up to €4.00 per night. As of 1 April this year, the maximum nightly fee tourists will pay is currently €2.75 (£2.40), but this is set to go up again from April next year to €3.25 (£2.80).
The amount tourists pay can depend on where they choose to stay in Barcelona, with five star hotels typically charging more than holiday rentals. In addition, cruise passengers who spend more than 12 hours in Barcelona are also required to pay a fee.
In the wider region of Catalonia, tourists must pay between €0.60 (£0.52) and €3.00 (£2.60) per night, with the amount varying according to the location and the type of accommodation.
Elsewhere, councils in the Valencia region of Spain have been given the green light to roll out a charge of up to €2.00 (£1.75) per person per night. The tax was approved in the region in November 2022 and is due to take effect from December this year, with fees ranging from €0.50 (£0.43) to €2.00 (1.75) per night. Again the amount will depend on the type of accommodation that people choose to stay in.
It means that popular destinations like the Costa Blanca and Alicante could be affected, although it will be up to individual councils in the Valencia region to decide whether or not to impose the tax. Officials in Benidorm, which is a much-loved holiday spot among Brits, have already declared they do not wish to introduce the extra charge.
In the Balearic Islands, tourists can pay around €4.00 (£3.50) per night, depending on the category of their accommodation and time of year they visit. But upcoming elections could see this amount rise further in Mallorca, with the political party Party Més per Mallorca proposing to increase the tax by as much as 60%.
Galicia and San Sebastian are two other regions of Spain that are considering introducing the tourist tax, while former tourism minister Reyes Maroto has hinted at introducing a tax in Madrid if she becomes mayor.
A tourist tax was first proposed in Madrid in 2015 and again in 2018, but it was never introduced. Speaking at a recent tourism forum in Madrid, Ms Maroto said: “The tourist tax does not have to be merely a tax, it has to be a tax that reverts to the tourism industry.”
But The Madrid Hotel Business Association has argued that such a move would harm the hotel sector. Its president Gabrial Garcia Alonso said the city is “booming” and becoming a hub for international tourists “without the need for a tourist tax”.
And it’s not just in Spain where holidaymakers will be hit by the tourism tax as such charges are now in force in some parts of the UK. As of 1 April, anyone who stays in a city centre hotel or holiday apartment in Manchester must pay £1 per night, per room, as part of a new scheme.
The City Visitor Charge aims to raise £3 million per year and coms ahead of significant expansion of the hotel and holiday let sector in the city. It is expected that almost 6,000 hotel rooms will be added to Manchester in the coming years, which will result in an extra one million overnight stays.
Money raised from the tax will be used to help fund the new Manchester Accommodation Business Improvement District (ABID), which is designed to “improve the visitor experience” and “support future growth of the visitor economy” over the next five years.
The Welsh government has also announced it will go ahead with plans to charge a visitor levy for tourists who stay overnight. Tourists will pay a small fee if they are staying overnight in hotels, Airbnbs or bed and breakfasts, similar to charges already in place in more than 40 destinations, including Greece, France, Amsterdam and California.