Government chiefs in the Balearic Islands have performed a U-turn on plans to charge holidaymakers twice as much tourist tax outside of the high season.
But the anticipated price hike will be approved on Friday for high season holidaymakers only, before going before the region's parliament for final approval, it emerged last night.
Regional government sources claimed today the U-turn was "coherent" with its intention of promoting the Balearics as an off-peak destination with its ongoing 'Better in Winter' campaign.
The bizarre decision, tantamount to admitting higher prices drive visitors away, comes less than two months after regional government chiefs boasted they were not worried the increased tax would discourage tourists.Holidaymakers will still be facing price hikes for high season
Under the price hikes, the average high-season charge will jump to €3 (£2.66) per person for each day's stay on one of the Balearic Islands.
Holidaymakers at city and five-star hotels will pay €4 (£3.55).
The U-turn means off-season prices will be frozen at 2016 rates.
Regional governors announced the anticipated tourist tax rise at a press conference at the end of August boasting they would rake in more than £90 million next year thanks to the extra charges and claiming they were not worried the increased tax would discourage tourists.
The tax rise was immediately criticised, with one local newspaper describing it as "brutal and unjustified."
Regional tourism minister Biel Barcelo called the rise "justified"
Regional tourism minister Biel Barcelo called the rise "justified" and said the tourist tax, introduced last summer and known popularly as the ecotasa in Spanish, had been "well-received, insisting the money raised helped reverse the impact of millions of holidaymakers on the islands.
But respected online daily Mallorcadiario.com said in an editorial: "Doubling the rate for each tourist staying in a regulated establishment will have a dissuasive effect, especially on family tourism.
"Our main rival national tourist destinations, with the exception of Catalunya, don't have a similar rate, and this increase will encourage many tourists to pick the Canary Islands, Andalucia and the Costa Blanca instead."
It was widely anticipated that tourism tax prices would double between November and April ahead of the regional government U-turn.
Left-wing party Podemos has already signalled its intention to fight for an all-year increase when the government proposal goes before the Balearic Islands' Parliament for final approval.