(Canarias – Spain) The IGIC refund to non-EU nationals requested by the trade would affect 30% of tourists.

Based on 2021 figures, this percentage is largely due to British tourism, which accounted for almost a quarter of international tourist arrivals. Before COVID, this percentage exceeded 35%.

Last week the president of the Federation of Urban Areas of the Canary Islands (FAUCA), Abbas Moujir, announced in Atlántico Hoy that he had asked the government to abolish the IGIC tax for non-EU tourists making purchases in shops on the Islands. This initiative is intended to encourage consumption and to act as a lure for the arrival of more visitors.

This measure seeks to attract above all tourism from the United Kingdom, which has been outside the EU since the completion of its exit from the European Union in 2020. A fact that has not yet been fully assessed due to the emergence of the COVID and its impact on the tourism sector.
What Moujir, who is also vice-president of CEOE Tenerife, proposed would mean the return of IGIC to 30% of tourists, largely due to the arrival of British tourism, which in 2021 accounted for 1.2 million of the nearly 5.3 million foreign tourists, a percentage of 23% of the total.

To this figure we must add those from other countries outside the European Union such as Iceland (22,652), Norway (57,017), Russia (9,893), Canada (2,735) or the United States (16,330), which together with the rest of the non-European nationalities (292,295) add up to 400,922 tourists, or in other words, 7.5% of the visitors to the Archipelago in 2021. According to the president of FAUCA, among these, the Russian is “a tourist who used to spend a lot”, but now, with the war in Ukraine “it is complicated”.
Influence of Brexit

This 23% of British tourists arriving in the Canary Islands in 2021 is one of the lowest percentages on record (along with 2020, the year of confinement), influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic, which was further aggravated by the UK’s exit from the European Union and the bankruptcy of the tour operator Thomas Cook.

In the years prior to the coronavirus, the arrival of these tourists accounted for almost four out of every ten visitors to the archipelago. In 2019, there were five million out of a total of 13.9 million, making up almost 36%. If we go back to a year earlier the percentage rises by one point.
Treasury’s long list

Abbas Moujir told Atlántico Hoy how “from all the trade business organisations” this IGIC refund has been raised, but he says that the Treasury is dragging its feet. “We had a meeting with the Director General of Taxes, Raquel Peligero, three weeks ago and she told us that in this quarter it was going to be put into operation, but she has been telling us that for a year”.

The vice-president of CEOE considers that “it would be an important element to attract even more tourists and make them spend more”, especially in jewellery, watches and perfumes, “where the percentage of returns is higher”.

Author: Atlanticohoy.com