ABTA protests Balearics car hire tax

The Association of British Travel Agents, ABTA, has asked authorities in the Balearic Islands to reconsider the imposition of a tax on rental cars that is due to be implemented from April this year.

The Spanish-owned Balearic Islands, the largest and most visited of which are Majorca, Minorca, Ibiza and Formentera, are intending to impose the tax as an ecological measure, but ABTA is concerned that the added cost to a week’s car rental will be bad for tourism to the archipelago.

The tax is set to vary between €3 and €7.5 per day, to be levied depending on the CO2 emissions of the individual car that is rented. This would make the cumulative weekly rental cost as much as €52.5, or £46 more expensive than it is currently. The amount will be payable when the car is collected from the rental company, even if the rental was prepaid in the renters home country.

The tax is intended to raise €15m per year for the Balearics’ government, but ABTA has asked them to delay its introduction and to reconsider.

Abta head of destinations and sustainability, Nikki White, said, ‘Hasty decisions that don’t give travel businesses time to prepare and take tourists by surprise can have a very damaging impact. Taxing tourists does more harm than good in the long term.’

ABTA has an ally in Jose Manuel Soria, Spain’s tourism minister, who, commenting on the proposed tax at last November’s World Travel Market in London, described it as, ‘Unfair.’

It remains to be seen if the new tax will be imposed on its scheduled date of April 1 this year.