1 May, 2024 @ 18:00
1 min read

Tourist tax row in Spain’s Andalucia: Major cities demand a levy on visitors while coastal resorts like Marbella question taxing people who ‘bring so many jobs’

April 12, 2024, Barcelona, Spain: On this warm and sunny Saturday of April 13, people cool off at La Barceloneta beach in Barcelona. The Mediterranean city of Barcelona is expecting a record year in terms of tourist visits as social debate grows over the city's model of mass tourism. (Credit Image: © Jordi Boixareu/ZUMA Press Wire)

ANDALUCIA’S inland cities are at loggerheads with its coastal ones over whether to introduce a tourist tax.

The mayors of cities like Sevilla, Malaga, and Cordoba have shown support for the additional levy, while Marbella and towns on the Costa del Sol fear it could scare business away.

Meanwhile, the smaller towns have complained that they felt sidelined in a debate predominantly focused on how to increase revenues.

A bill to introduce a tourist tax that charges between €1 and €5 a night depending on the number of starts of a hotel has remained stalled since it was proposed on December 27.

READ MORE: Tourist tax in Spain: Holiday hotspot loved by Brits ‘will start charging to visit its popular sites’ from this date – following a wave of protests by locals

Spain’s Andalucia expects to reach 30 million tourists this year
Spain’s Andalucia hosted 33 million tourists in 2023

Discussions on the proposal took place between the Junta, local business groups and the Andalucian Federation of Municipalities and Provinces (FAMP).

They were looking for ways to alleviate some of the impacts of ‘overtourism’ in certain regions of Andalucia.

Junta spokesperson Ramón Fernández-Pacheco insisted ‘it is not about frying people with taxes’ and that it was ‘better to reach a good solution than a quick one.’

Despite previous opposition to a tourist tax, the Junta appeared to be softening, with Finance Minister Carolina España suggesting it could be a viable option.

No deadline has been set for reaching an agreement, and the Junta has pledged to keep the public informed once decisions are finalised. 

The discussion aims to balance the economic benefits brought by tourism with the strain it puts on local infrastructure and services.

But even as the debate progresses, the proposed tax faces another hurdle—timing. 

With regional elections looming, the government is cautious about introducing new fiscal measures that could unsettle voters. 

Walter Finch

Walter - or Walt to most people - is a former and sometimes still photographer and filmmaker who likes to dig under the surface.
A NCTJ-trained journalist, he came to the Costa del Sol - Gibraltar hotspot from the Daily Mail in 2022 to report on organised crime, corruption, financial fraud and a little bit of whatever is going on.
Got a story? [email protected]

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