Ibiza Town Cathedral
The cathedral that dominates Ibiza town skyline will receive 500,000€ for work on its windows.

This Is How Ibiza’s 20 Million Euros Tourist Tax Income Will Be Spent. The sustainable tourism commission has issued budget details for the allocation and expenditure of the total income received by the tourist tax in the Balearic Islands, as reported in the Diario de Ibiza.

A total of 110 million euros has been received in 2018 across the islands, of which the biggest allocation, 26,2 million euros, will go towards the acquisition and development of property for protected social rent initiatives.

Of the 26.2 million housing allocation, Ibiza will receive a total of 2.8 million euros for the fulfillment of a project to create 19 units of social housing, all of which are in Ibiza old town.

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Overall Ibiza received 18% of the total income of the Balearic islands, though there is no information given to confirm whether this corresponds with the percentage of income raised by the Pitiuses.

Projects

This 18% equates to 20 million euros to be allocated thus.

  • New Portinax water treatment plant – 2.1 million euros
  • Restoration of ibiza Town cathedral windows and walls – 0.5 million euros
  • Purchase and restoration of the defense tower des Verger – 250,000 euros
  • Creation of 19 social housing units in Vila (Ibiza Old Town) – 2.8 million
  • Fulfillment of ongoing projects approved in previous years (e.g. the parts of the San Antonio paseo project that have already been approved) – 8.8 million

Ibiza Consell president Vicent Torres, has said he is “more than satisfied” by these “important” investments coming from the tourist tax.

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The proposal has been approved with the abstention of the Confederation of Business Associations of the Balearic Islands (CAEB) and the vote against ARCA and the GOB.

The GOB have raised objections that, whilst urgently needed, the social housing developments are not a fair use of the tourist tax which was said to be introduced for the reversal of the ecological impact of tourism.

They also object to some budgets being for projects that are aimed at the development of additional winter tourism, stating that it is a corruption of intent that a sustainable tourist tax should be used for any project that is designed to bring more tourist to the islands.

In statements to the media, the representative of the GOB in the commission, Macià Blázquez, criticised the building of new homes. “It is not consistent that the money that is paid for this tax is dedicated to building more property”, lamented Blázquez, who also criticised the inclusion of projects to promote tourist demand in winter. “It does not stop being more demand in a territory that, to our knowledge, is already quite saturated.”

Editorial Comment:

Setting aside for one moment the issue of whether the tourist tax is a good or bad thing for the Balearic islands, there is plenty here to add strength to the arguments of those who felt the nobility of the ecological objectives delivered when the  tourist tax was introduced, would fall by the wayside as money would be diverted to whatever project took the fancy of the government.

I am sure there are arguments about balancing the load of tourism, but you have to see Blázquez’s point. It is difficult to accept a situation where a tax taken for ecological redress should be funding the promotion of more tourism, regardless of whether it is out of season. Also building new housing does not seem equitable. Does it have a social need? Most certainly. Does it have an economic need? Of course, without doubt. But ecological? That is a hard one to swallow.

However in my opinion neither demand the same stretch of the imagination as the reasons given for funding the San Antonio Paseo extension from the ‘ecological’ tourist tax. In allocating the 20 million euros funding over 5 years under the ecological criteria of the tourist tax, the town halls of Sant Josep and Sant Antonio gave the reason that creation of the paseo would “encourage people who currently drive between the bay and san an to walk instead, thereby reducing the environmental consequences of motor traffic”. Overall I am a huge fan of the project, but come on. Did they keep a straight face when presenting that? Did anybody in the meeting object that ‘the public will never fall for that’? Do they really think we are that stupid or do we not really care?

For me, these are the things that go to make the world of politics so sleazy. Why try and con people? Why not just present it as a tax that we will spend on what the hell we want and feel we need? However much they might fall in my own view of the ecological credentials, they would more than make up for in just being honest about it.

When you start to think about it other projects start to sound a bit dodgy too. The Cathedral windows? How is that required as an ecological issue due to the affect of saturation tourism, too many people looking at them?

Why don’t they just try being direct and honest for once? See how it goes.

Either it is an ecology tax, in which case it should be devoted 100% to ecological projects, or it is a ‘whatever we fancy’ fund, in which case you need to take down all of the polite notices in hotel receptions telling people that they are being asked to pay this extra amount to save cuddly bunnies and plant trees.

Mind you, this is hardly something restricted to Ibiza. How many extra million was it that would be spent on the NHS post Brexit?