Eco-tax plan for visitors to the Balearics is criticised
Tourists planning holidays to Spain this year may be asked to pay a new eco-tax in a bid to conserve some of the country's most popular islands.
The 'green tax' is currently being prepared by government chiefs in Mallorca, Menorca and Ibiza as part of a drive to protect the strained Balearic ecosystem.
After July 1 this year, visitors and UK residents living on the islands will be asked to pay a daily fee of around €2 (around £1.50) per person, depending on season, type of accommodation and the individual's age.
The tax has been criticised by travel agencies and consumer watchdogs, who say the added fee could cost make a significant difference to families planning holidays on a tight budget.
Authorities say the tax will go towards natural heritage, however, as well as investing money towards protecting the area.
Last year Biel Barcelo, vice president of the islands' coalition government, said the tax will be applied "with or without the help of the Spanish state", since it is "absolutely necessary" to conserve the Balearic archipelago.
After the initial proposals were received badly last year, it is now planned for the tax to halve in cost after the ninth day of each stay, meaning a family of four with children over the age of 16 will pay up to £70 extra.
In Malta, a charge of 40p per night comes into place from June, but will be capped at €5.
Travel operator ABTA said the tax could "have the unintended consequence of driving tourists away from the islands."