Barcelona could introduce a tourist tax from 2017
Visitors coming to Barcelona in 2017 may be levied with a tourist tax. This would be added to the fee Catalonia already applies to people staying in Catalan hotels, camping sites and tourist cottages. The Municipal Commission of Economy and Finance passed on Tuesday a proposal presented by liberal ‘Convergència i Unió’ (CiU) in which the political party asks the local government to consider the application of a tourist tax, fee or public levy. The aim is to balance the costs and benefits of receiving around 30 million visitors each year. The text approved also insists on the necessity of demanding from the Catalan Government the transfer of all the revenue collected from tourists visiting the city, and not just half of it.
Barcelona (CNA).- Barcelona City Council is considering the imposition of a tax on visitors staying overnight and travellers who only spend the day in the city. The Municipal Commission of Economy and Finance passed on Tuesday a proposal by 'Convergència i Unió' (CiU) that asks the local government to study the application of a tourist tax, fee or public levy to offset the balance between tourism costs and benefits. This measure may become effective in 2017 and could affect up to 30 million visitors each year. Catalonia has been levying tourists with a surcharge since 2012. The Barcelona city tax would be added to this fee. The proposal approved asks the Catalan Government to hand over 100%, instead of just 50%, of the revenue it gets from the tax levied on tourists staying in the city.
The City Councillor for Tourism, Agustí Colom, is convinced that with this mandate the city government will make progress toward minimising the impact generated by the 30 million people visiting Barcelona every year, both the 8 million who stay at hotels and those who do not.
Catalonia’s tourist tax generated €43.5 million in 2015, a 5.5% increase in comparison to 2014. According to the Catalan Government, the increase in revenue from the tax is in parallel with the increase in tourists visiting Catalonia on a seasonal basis. Last year, hotels generated €34.3 million of the total, the most of any sector. Cruises brought in €486,000, an increase of 74.5%, and tourist homes €3.6 million, a 38.6%, or €1 million, rise in comparison to 2014.
Since its inception in 2012, the tourist tax has generated €126 million for the region. Everybody staying in Catalan hotels, camping sites and tourist cottages, has to pay a symbolic fee according to the accommodation’s category and zone. The fee ranges from 50 cents to €2.50 per night, with a maximum charge of seven nights per person. Children of 16 and under and tourists participating in social programmes, such as organised trips for retired people, are exempt from paying the tax.