A tourist tax is any revenue-generating measure targeted at tourists. It is a means of combating overtourism[1] and a form of tax exporting (partial shifting of tax burden to non-citizens or non-residents). The tourist industry typically campaigns against the taxes.[2] It is separate from value-added tax and other taxes that tourists may pay, but are also paid by residents.[1]

Types

Per diem tax

As of 2019, Bhutan charges $200 to $250 per visitor per day,[1][3] considered one of the highest tourist taxes at the time.[1] Originally people from India, Bangladesh, and the Maldives were exempt from part of the fee, but the country plans to increase fees for these visitors beginning in 2020.[4][5]

Hotel tax

Main article: Hotel tax

Many countries in Europe charge a per-day tax on rooms in hotels and other temporary accommodation. In Germany, the tax is levied by cities in addition to VAT and is called Kulturförderabgabe [de] (lit.'culture promotion tax') or "Bettensteuer" (bed tax). In many municipalities business travelers are exempt from paying it.[6][1] Spanish municipalities also charge local hotel tax of a few euros flat fee. In Greece the hotel tax, charged from 2018, ranges from 0.50 euros to 4 euros. Romania, in addition to other tourist taxes, charges 1% of the price of the accommodation nationally.[1] Many US states and municipalities charge hotel tax. The highest rate is Houston at 17% of the cost of lodging daily.[1][7]

In the Netherlands, cruising tax is also charged for people staying in cruise ships docked in the city, while separate taxes target people staying in hotels.[1]

Restaurant tax

Taxes on restaurants can also be considered a form of tourist tax.[2]

Arrival tax

In 2019, New Zealand was planning to institute a $35 arrival tax for visitors from countries beyond the Pacific region. It was estimated to raise NZ$80 million annually and reduce the number of visitors by 20,000 annually.[1][8] Venice planned a 10-euro entrance fee in 2018 which was delayed during the COVID pandemic,[9] and Civita di Bagnoregio charges a 5-euro entry fee as of 2019.[1]

Departure tax

Main article: Departure tax

Most Caribbean countries charge a departure tax (in 2019, it was $51 in Antigua and Barbuda, and $15 in Bahamas) which is automatically added to airline fares. As of 2019, Japan charged a 1,000-yen "sayonara tax" to visitors leaving the country. Proceeds were used to fund the 2020 Summer Olympics, which were scheduled to be held in Tokyo. Indonesia charges a departure tax, but it differs depending on the airport.[1]

Tourist taxes and overtourism

Tourist taxes are increasingly being employed by destinations seeking to manage the overtourism crisis.[10]

Venice – one of the most overtouristed cities in Europe - has announced that in 2024 it will be implementing a $5 entry fee from 8:30am to 4pm during peak weekends and other weekdays between April and mid-July.

The aim is to try to reduce crowds and to improve quality of life for the people living in Venice. The city says proceeds from the tax will go towards maintaining essential services for residents.[11]

Other destinations introducing a tourism tax in 2024 to manage visitor numbers and support local infrastructure include:

Public support for tourist taxes

In March 2023, in response to concerns over National Park funding cuts in the UK,[16][17] ethical travel company Responsible Travel conducted a survey of 670 UK travellers to see if they would be willing to pay a levy to support nature conservation when visiting a National Park or Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Ninety percent of respondents confirmed they would be happy to pay between £2 and £10 per night if proceeds were ringfenced to support local conservation projects.[18]

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Christine, Theresa (27 February 2019). "41 countries around the world that charge a tourist tax". Insider. Retrieved 23 April 2020.
  2. ^ a b Dwyer, L. (2007). International Handbook on the Economics of Tourism. Edward Elgar Publishing. p. 252. ISBN 978-1-84720-163-8.
  3. ^ Lester V. Ledesma. "5 reasons Bhutan is worth the US$250 daily fee". CNN. Retrieved 23 April 2020.
  4. ^ Sarkar, Debasis (21 November 2019). "Bhutan's tourist policy revamp may hit travel operators in eastern India". The Economic Times. Retrieved 23 April 2020.
  5. ^ "Bhutan taxes tourists". TTR Weekly. January 2020. Retrieved 23 April 2020.
  6. ^ "Bettensteuer Deutschland – Alle Formulare zur Befreiung". www.bettensteuer.de. Retrieved 23 April 2020.
  7. ^ Novack, Janet (1 October 2012). "Travelers Alert: The 10 U.S. Cities That Tax Tourists The Most". Forbes. Retrieved 25 April 2020.
  8. ^ Cheng, Derek (7 January 2019). "New foreign tourist tax – vital funds for industry or unnecessary tax grab?". NZ Herald. Retrieved 23 April 2020.
  9. ^ Ltd, Jacobs Media Group. "Controversial €5 Venice tourist tax finally approved". Travel Weekly. Retrieved 23 January 2024.
  10. ^ "Tourist tax. How do tourist taxes work and are they a good thing". Responsible Travel. 23 January 2024. Retrieved 23 January 2024.
  11. ^ "All the countries where you have to pay a 'tourist tax' in 2024". euronews. 5 January 2024. Retrieved 23 January 2024.
  12. ^ Dickinson, Sophie (21 January 2024). "Why 2024 is the year of the tourist tax". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 23 January 2024.
  13. ^ "Bali introduces IDR150,000 tourism levy from February 14, 2024". welcomebacktobali.com. 23 January 2024.
  14. ^ Dickinson, Sophie (21 January 2024). "Why 2024 is the year of the tourist tax". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 23 January 2024.
  15. ^ "Iceland Reinstates Tourism Tax for 2024, Expands to Cruises". etias.com. Retrieved 11 April 2024.
  16. ^ Francis, Justin (23 January 2024). "UK National Parks". Responsible Travel. Retrieved 23 January 2024.
  17. ^ Wall, Tom (8 November 2022). "Funding cuts leave England's national parks facing 'existential crisis'". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 23 January 2024.
  18. ^ "The cost of travel: can tourism taxes work?". ROADBOOK. Retrieved 23 January 2024.