Benidorm: Visitors return to beach after months of lockdown

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The debate in the Valencian Parliament on Wednesday reportedly lasted for nearly 10 hours as politicians were heavily divided over the tax. Two of the region’s left wing parties Compromís and Unidas Podemos are leading support for the tourist tax.

As yet, no details have been released on the proposed tourist tax but it may be similar to those charged to tourists visiting Italy which ranges from one to five euros per night.

The governing socialist party in the region, PSPV, said it will consider introducing a tourist tax but would not support a tax imposed on the whole Valencian region.

Vice General Secretary Manolo Mata, said he was waiting for a “concrete proposal” on the tax.

Mata said he would not support imposing an overnight tax but would support a tourist tax being introduced on a case by case basis.

Opposition parties urged the Government to focus on other issues, and warned that the tourism industry in the region is already struggling.

The Valencia region as a whole has seen a drop in tourism since the pandemic took hold in 2020.

Numbers of visitors have steadily increased as travel restrictions are lifted with hotels averaging 70 percent full in September according to the region’s hotel association.

Other politicians argued: “Enough taxes are already paid elsewhere.” It is feared the tax could put off tourists just starting to return to the region.

The Hosbec hotel association reacted with horror to the proposed tourist tax and said they considered it: “An insult to the effort and vigilance that have accompanied us during the last 18 months.” 

Travel experts and opposition politicians have said the tourism industry has suffered “many economic losses” during Covid and could not handle a tax.

Before the pandemic took hold, Britons made up about 40 percent of all tourists in the Costa Blanca town, Benidorm.

Tourist taxes can be introduced to pacify local populations angered by tourist overcrowding or high rental prices.

In many popular tourist destinations, locals say they struggle to afford everyday items due to the high prices caused by tourism.

Tourist taxes already apply to the popular Spanish holiday destinations of Majorca and Ibiza as well as other Balearic islands.

The Sustainable Tourist Tax is charged to every holidaymaker over the age of 16 and is highest for those staying in luxury hotels.

Those staying in a luxury hotel are taxed four euros per night while cruise ship visitors must pay two euros even if they don’t stay overnight.

The Sustainable Tourist Tax is lowest for campers and people staying in hostels at just one euro per night.

Prices are also lower for tourists travelling in the quieter months of November to April and money raised from the tax goes towards protecting the island’s natural resources.

Catalonia in Spain also charges tourists a tax, with prices dependent on where the tourist is staying and the type of accommodation.

Prices are highest in Barcelona. The Canary islands have also reportedly considered introducing a tourist tax but nothing has been decided on yet.

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