Spain tourist tax: Mayors of Malaga, Seville and Cordoba launch war on UK holidaymakers with new levy

Spain tops the list of travel destinations for Britons, but the country’s unwavering popularity has led to overcrowding at tourism hotspots.

It may now be a matter of time before a tourist tax is implemented in the southern region of Andalusia as cities struggle to cope with the saturation of tourism.

Spanish authorities are calling for a tourist tax to be levied in the region to help cities pay for projects that would appease pressure from over-tourism.

Despite making significant contributions to the economy, tourism is currently a seasonal challenge for smaller European destinations.

Passport and Malaga landscape

The Mayor of Malaga is backing calls for a tourist tax


Taxes for visitors have become increasingly popular in Spain in recent years, with Barcelona increasing its nightly levy in April 2023.

Catalunya and the Balearic Islands have also implemented a tourist levy, which charges guests an additional €3.50 a day. The proceeds are used for sustainability projects.

In contrast, the Valencian Community scrapped plans for the tax to be introduced in the region this year.

The rest of the nation has mostly remained tax-free but tourists a fee to help pay for infrastructure, resources, and amenities.

Under existing rules, visitors must pay a fee that varies depending on the category of accommodation and location.

Andalusia remains one of the last-standing regions with no specific tax on tourists who visit the area.

If applied, the taxes would affect primary tourist areas including Seville, Malaga, the Costa del Sol, Cadiz and the Costa de la Luz.

Malaga’s mayor Francisco de la Torre is the latest mayor of the region to join his counterparts in Cordoba and Seville in requesting the tax.

He said: “I have always declared myself in favour of it. A tourist, even if he contributes indirectly with his expenses through taxes and revenue on spending is enjoying city facilities paid for by residents.”

Jose Maria Bellido, the Mayor of Cordoba, told Europa Press that the city’s historic sites attract more than two million visitors a year.



The Mayor of Cordoba would like a levy to be introduced


“We are going to reach a point where it is necessary to impose a tourist tax,” he said.

“There are municipalities that understand that it would be positive and I can share that analysis.

“There are cities in which there is an agglomeration (of tourists) with significant costs for public services of all kinds, such as cleaning, transportation, security, and maintenance. [A tourist tax] may be reasonable].

The Tourism Business Council of the Confederations of Entrepreneurs of Andalucia has discouraged the move, arguing that it would “negatively affect the competitiveness of the sector and the regional economy as a whole”.

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