Rosa Dávila refuses PSOE’s ecotax proposal for tourism but is open to exploring other fiscal options

The head of the Tenerife Cabildo, Rosa Dávila, has rejected the PSOE’s suggestion to introduce an ecotax or levy on tourist stays for non-residents, but has expressed willingness to discuss the possible adjustment of the IGIC or investigate alternative fiscal measures. These discussions are to take place within the framework of working groups established by the conference of island presidents.

The Cabildo’s plenary session convened an extraordinary meeting to deliberate on the PSOE’s ecotax proposal, championed by spokesperson Pedro Martín. Martín argued for the imposition of a tax or fee on overnight stays for all non-resident tourists in the Canary Islands, with the generated revenue being designated for environmental conservation efforts or improving the well-being of Tenerife residents.

Martín stressed the concept of all tourists, not just those visiting natural areas, contributing through a nightly rate to support environmental initiatives or public services, given the pressures of tourism. He invited other groups to discuss the allocation of the tribute’s proceeds and its method of implementation.

Emphasising a specific use for the funds, Martín reiterated that the revenue could be earmarked for environmental projects or enhancing Tenerife residents’ circumstances.

In response, Cabildo President Rosa Dávila highlighted the government group’s dedication to transitioning the tourism model, exemplified by plans to levy a final fee for access to protected natural spaces by visitors.

During the island presidents’ conference with the Canaries’ president, working groups have been established to address the demographic challenge, including one focused on taxation and tourism.

Dávila noted that the exploration of various options has been proposed in this forum.

While considering levies on tourist stays, Dávila proposed indirect taxation within the Economic and Fiscal Regime (REF) rather than a direct tax approach.

Referring to the significant revenue generated by tourist IGIC on Tenerife, Dávila calculated that a 0.5-point increase would result in an additional 38 million Euros.

Dávila stated, “We are engaged in a reflective process, willing to discuss the implementation of some form of taxation, though a tourist levy on overnight stays was not part of the presidents’ conference proposals.”

“We are not shying away from any debate, as we have the REF to adjust indirect taxes on overnight stays,” Dávila remarked, acknowledging that such a tax would not serve a specific purpose in this case.

She also highlighted the challenge of distinguishing between residents and non-residents if implementing a tax as proposed by the socialists.

“A calm and meticulous debate must occur within the working groups of the presidents’ conference and within that framework,” she added.

The Importance of Transitioning to a More Sustainable Tourism Model

It has been determined that a significant shift towards a more environmentally-friendly tourism approach is essential.

The Revenue Enhancement Fund (REF) serves as a valuable decision-making tool with a strong fundraising capability, although it lacks finality in its decisions. It is vital to establish distinctions between residents and non-residents to prevent any form of discrimination.

Lope Afonso, the vice president of the Cabildo and a representative of the PP party, voiced criticisms against the proposed introduction of a fee or tax on tourist overnight stays in the Canary Islands. He supported the government’s plan to levy charges for visits to protected natural areas and accused the PSOE party of having a proclivity for tax hikes in regions under its governance.

According to Jose Miguel Ruano, the spokesperson for the CC party, it is imperative to conduct a thorough diagnosis within the framework of the conference of presidents before implementing any measures. The primary issue that requires systematic and structured discussion is the demographic challenge and its implications on public services and the tourism sector.

Ana Salazar, representing Vox, opposed the imposition of a tax on overnight stays citing its detrimental impact on the tourism industry and the competitive edge of the Canary Islands’ economy.

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