Canary Islands Parliament turns down eco-tax for tourists and restrictions on foreign home purchases

The Canary Islands Parliament rejected a motion to overhaul the current tourism model by implementing measures like a new moratorium law and a tourist eco-tax, despite supporting other proposals such as limiting further land use for tourism.

Today, the Canary Islands Parliament dismissed a motion presented by the NC-BC coalition, which aimed to transform the prevailing tourism model through various proposals, including a new moratorium law, the introduction of an eco-tax for tourists, and restrictions on property purchases by non-resident foreigners. The motion was opposed by the ruling coalition parties and the Vox group.

Conversely, the same parties, excluding Vox, endorsed other aspects of the motion. These included curtailing further land use for tourism purposes and promoting the development of affordable residential housing. The motion also supported imposing entrance fees for non-local visitors to the archipelago’s protected natural areas.

Luis Campos, the representative defending the proposal, highlighted that the Canary Islands are at a critical juncture. This follows mass protests on April 20, where tens of thousands voiced their dissatisfaction with the ongoing development and tourism model. Campos noted a surge in tourist numbers, predicting that the year could end with more than 17 million visitors, despite recurrent crises in water, energy, and housing every fortnight. He argued that these crises underscore deep-seated issues that need addressing through immediate legislative action in tourism and urban planning.

Canary Islands Parliament turns down eco-tax for tourists and restrictions on foreign home purchases

The rejected NC-BC motion also proposed initiating steps to establish a tourist tax, a common practice in many leading global destinations. It further suggested limiting speculative property acquisitions by non-residents and emphasised the significance of a circular economy and fees for accessing natural sites.

Luis Campos affirmed NC-BC’s commitment to persist with the proposals, despite their rejection by the majority, comprising CC, PP, ASG, AHI, and Vox, asserting that these measures are crucial to managing tourist saturation and the islands’ population boom over the past quarter-century.

For the Socialist Group, Sebastián Franquis concurred on the need to reassess the current tourism strategy, urging the Canary Islands Parliament and the Government to demonstrate leadership and initiate a comprehensive debate.

Canary Islands Parliament turns down eco-tax for tourists and restrictions on foreign home purchases

Raúl Acosta from the Mixed Group advocated for a serene and inclusive discussion on the proposals to formulate a robust agreement with enduring measures. Jesús Ramos Chinea of ASG critiqued the necessity of a rental moratorium and the uniform application of an eco-tax, raising concerns about its impact and questioning how foreign property purchases could be restricted without contradicting requests for European aid.

Vox’s Paula Jover dismissed all the measures in the NC-BC motion, attributing the islands’ crises not to tourism but to government incompetence. Carlos Ester from PP recognized the wake-up call from the demonstrations but defended the tourists, emphasizing that the ongoing crises were due to years of governmental negligence, not tourism.

José Manuel Bermúdez of the Canary Islands Nationalist Group criticized the motion as opportunistic, especially in light of the past government’s failures to act during their term, which saw a significant increase in tourist numbers. He only agreed with the motion on limiting tourism growth and imposing access controls to natural areas.

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