MADRID may become the latest holiday destination in Spain to introduce a controversial tourist tax.
The woman who was in charge of tourism in Spain for five years, Reyes Maroto is now standing for mayor of the country’s capital, which attracts millions of visitors every year.
She has sparked controversy by suggesting she would consider introducing a tourist tax if elected, a suggestion which has already infuriated hoteliers.
The former Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism said she was in favour of introducing a tourist tax, payable per night by most holidaymakers.
However, she stressed that the money raised would benefit tourists in the long run.
She said: “The tourist tax does not have to be merely a tax, it has to be a tax that reverts to the tourism industry.”
Reyes Maroto was talking during a breakfast forum in Madrid. A tourist tax was previously proposed for the city in both 2015 and 2018 but was never introduced.
She continued: “The most important thing is to know why.”
Her comments at the forum were reported by the leading tourism website, Hosteltur.com
The Madrid Hotel Business Association immediately signalled its opposition to the idea, claiming it would directly harm the hotel sector and visitors.
Their president, Gabriel Garcia Alonso said: “Madrid is booming and becoming one of the most desired destinations for national and international tourists with a large hotel investment, without the need for a tourist tax.”
Many parts of Spain are also considering a new tourist tax.
Catalonia and the Balearic Islands, which include Mallorca and Ibiza, implemented the tax in 2012 and 2016, respectively.
In November 2022, Valencia approved a tax which will come into force in December of this year and will range between €0.5 and €2 (£0.44 – £1.77) per day depending on the type and category of the accommodation in which people stay in.
However, it will be up to individual councils to decide if they want a tourist tax or not.
Benidorm has already said they are definitely not in favour of implementing it.
Galicia and San Sebastian are two other regions of Spain considering introducing a tourist tax.
Earlier this year, Thailand introduced a tourist tax too.
And here are some other holiday hotspots where Brits have to pay a tourist tax.