Debate rages in Spain’s Valencia region over introduction of tourist tax

THE controversy over the introduction of a tourist tax in the region of Valencia rumbles on in the region’s parliament after a debate which lasted almost ten hours on Wednesday.

The introduction of the tax is a divisive issue with left wing parties Compromís and Unidas Podemos supporting the idea.

The governing socialist party (PSPV) agrees broadly, but remains at odds with their coalition partners as to the details.

The PSPV agrees to consider the tax should it be applied in municipalities and on a case by case basis, but they are against a general tax affecting the entire province.

Opposition leaders of the Partido Popular (PP) oppose the plans, and right wing party VOX rejects the idea outright. 

PSPV Vice General Secretary Manolo Mata said that his party would approve the tax for municipalities but not for the entire Valencian community, he warned not to “improvise something that has important consequences”.

Mata said that he has been waiting since 2018 for a “concrete proposal” on the issue of the tourist tax, which is raised every October as budgets are approved for the subsequent year.

Mata says that his party is not in favour of imposing a tax for regional overnight stays, but would support the measure if there are municipalities that want to implement it on a case by case basis.

Deputy Podemos spokesperson Estefanía Blanes said that there are those who “always think that perhaps it is not the moment” for the tourist tax, but admits that the details of the idea are yet to be finalized.

Partido Popular Secretary General María José Catalá has urged the government to focus on other issues, and warns against raising taxes in an already struggling tourism sector. Catalá warns that the sector has suffered “many economic losses and still has workers in ERTE”, and argues that the sector could not cope with new taxes.

Ciudadanos spokesperson Ruth Merino has said that they are against the tax in principle, adding that “enough taxes are already paid elsewhere”.

The debate rages on in Valencia as the region prepares to pass it’s budget in October. 

During the month of September the Valencian Community saw its average hotel occupancy close to 70% in most tourist destinations, with the city of Valencia leading the way with an average of 71.5% occupancy, according to data from the Hosbec hotel association.

The province of Castellón saw 68.6% during the same period, and Benidorm registered an average of 68.4% and the Costa Blanca 67%.

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