New cruise tax to come into force next year if budget is passed

Government will charge most polluting ships but rules out limiting arrivals

The Seven Seas Splendor cruise ship in the port of Palamós
The Seven Seas Splendor cruise ship in the port of Palamós / Marina López
Catalan News

Catalan News | @catalannews | Barcelona

November 21, 2022 02:21 PM

A new cruise tax will come into force in Catalonia next year, as announced by the Catalan climate action minister, Teresa Jordà, on Monday. 

The official did not give details on the figures, but in an interview with Catalunya Ràdio she said that "whoever pollutes the most will pay the most," meaning that the most polluting ships will be the ones who will face higher levies.

The initiative will be in force next year, as long as the 2023 Catalan budget passes in Parliament – the government is expected to present it in the coming weeks but the support of a majority of MPs is not yet guaranteed, since only 33 out of the 135 lawmakers back the minority cabinet. 

Social debate around cruise tax

The new cruise tax will be introduced amid years of controversy and social debate in society over the pollution generated by such operations. 

Check out our the episode of our podcast, Filling the Sink, published in July, examining the situation of mass tourism and its effects, including cruises.

Listen on Apple Podcasts Listen on Google Podcasts Listen on Spotify

On Monday, Jordà made clear that the new tax will not imply a limitation of cruise arrivals, as proposed by Barcelona mayor, Ada Colau, in July. 

Indeed, back then she suggested halving the number of cruise ship passengers arriving in the Catalan capital in high season, limiting them to a maximum of 10,000 people per day.

And as is already the case in Palma de Mallorca, Colau believes Barcelona should not allow more than three cruise ships to dock in the port per day.

Tax on polluting economic activities

During the interview, in which Jordà also announced that drought measures will affect 85% of the Catalan population from this Tuesday, the minister explained that the executive is working on another tax on the most polluting economic activities. Jordà said that their "will" is to also introduce this levy in 2023.

The department she leads will have more funds allocated than last year, according to her.