Plans for a tourist tax in one of Spain’s most popular destinations for British holidaymakers are set to be given the go-ahead.
The regional government for Valencia – which covers the Costa Blanca area, including Alicante and Benidorm – says it will publish the order within the next few weeks.
The plan could add around £50 to the cost of a week’s holiday for a family of four Brits.
The tourist tax will be on a sliding scale, depending on the type of accommodation, which includes campsites, hostels and hotels as well as passengers on cruise ships that call at ports in the region, even if they don’t dock overnight.
The planned charge is set at €2 per person per night for guests in a four- or five-star hotel, €1.50 for cruise passengers and 50 cents for campsite guests.
Under 16s won’t have to pay the tax and it’s understood holidaymakers will be charged for a maximum of seven days.
Despite the fact similar charges already exist in Cataluna on mainland Spain and in the Balearics, there has been widespread opposition to the tourist tax.
Hotel employers’ association Hosbec accused the regional government of ‘hating tourism’ and joined forces with the Business Confederation of the Valencia Community (CEV) to start an online petiton against the tax last year.
Authorities says the tax is not compulsory and the majority of popular resorts have said they won’t introduce the surcharge, arguing it will make the region less competitive to holidaymakers.
But the Valencian government says the tax is necessary to pay for improved tourist services and infrastructure as well as to protect the environment.
It’s also said it won’t implement the tax straight away, while the region rebuilds from dwindling numbers amid the COVID pandemic and the effects on tourism of the invasion of Ukraine.
Instead, it looks likely to come into force at the end of 2023 or early 2024.
Spanish politician Ximo Puig said the tax would be a ‘minor’ cost to tourists, adding it will mostly be implemented in the urban cities.