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Why 2024 is the year of the tourist tax

Visitors to the Acropolis in Greece will pay a new climate crisis resilience fee in 2024
Visitors to the Acropolis in Greece will pay a new climate crisis resilience fee in 2024 - Jamie Lorriman

“Overtourism” is something of a buzzword already this year. We were beckoned back to seaside resorts and old favourites in the aftermath of the pandemic, before being assailed with stories of crowded restaurants and attractions. In Amsterdam, a new directive asked hedonistic Britons to stay away. In places like Athens, anti-tourist graffiti campaigns are being waged by locals, with the aim of letting visitors know they are unwelcome.

For other countries, tourist taxes are being implemented in response. Typically only small amounts of money, the fees are usually added onto hotel bills or payable at the airport. Here are the countries introducing a tourist tax in 2024.

Greece

Greece has introduced a new “climate crisis resilience fee” for tourists this year, replacing the previous hotel tax. According to the Greek government, charges will range from €1.50 (£1.30) to €10 (£8.60), depending on accommodation, quality and the time of year. In the low season, the fee is capped at €4 (£3.45).

It comes after a year of record rainfall and heatwaves, which destroyed over 1,500 square kilometres of land and led to 37 deaths.

Venice, Italy

A tourist tax has long been proposed as a solution to Venice’s overcrowding problem. This year, its entry fee system is finally being implemented. A trial will launch between April and mid-July, where on certain days – mostly weekends – visitors will have to pay €5 (£4.30) to access the city. This only applies from 8:30am to 4pm, meaning that those visiting the city in the evening will be exempt. Those staying overnight will also bypass the charge.

Few expect visitor numbers to go down. Instead, proceeds from the fee will be earmarked for maintenance projects in the city, plus “the quality of the tourist offer (services, events, museums etc.)”.

Venice is trialling an entry fee system to tackle overcrowding
Venice is trialling an entry fee system to tackle overcrowding - Oleg Znamenskiy / Alamy

Barcelona, Spain

Visitors to Barcelona have had to pay both a city-wide and regional tax since 2012. Last year, the municipal fee increased to €2.75 (£2.37); from April 1 this year, this will rise to €3.25 (£2.80).

Tourists pay the fee as part of their accommodation bill. Again, the proceeds are used to fund city infrastructure like bus routes and roadworks.

Valencia, Spain

Another Spanish tourist tax, this time in Valencia. Again, it will apply to visitors staying in official accommodation, including campsites, hotels and self-catering properties. The style of accommodation will impact the amount paid, which varies from 50 cents (43 pence) to €2 (£1.72).

It isn’t clear when the tax, known as the Valencian Tax on Tourist Stays (IVET), will come fully into force – officials have been trailing its implementation since late 2022. Once it is introduced, however, the proceeds will be used to provide more affordable housing for locals living in tourist areas.

Bali, Indonesia

The Indonesian province has been popular with backpackers for decades, and now the region is introducing a fee to “protect culture and nature”.

Bali is introducing a fee to 'protect culture and nature'
Bali is introducing a fee to 'protect culture and nature'

From Feb 14 2024, visitors will have to pay a fee of around IDR 150,000, or just over £7.50. It won’t make a radical difference to the overall cost of a holiday, but it is one of the steeper tourist taxes.

The tax is payable at the airport or via the Love Bali app, a process that will apparently take less than a minute.

Paris, France

Tourists have long been charged a taxe de séjour in France, with the price varying between cities. In anticipation of the Paris Olympics, however, fees will be increasing by around 200 per cent in the French capital.

Visitor fees are increasing by around 200 per cent ahead of the Paris Olympics
Visitor fees are increasing by around 200 per cent ahead of the Paris Olympics - AFP PHOTO / ALAIN JOCARDALAIN JOCARD/AFP/Getty

Depending on the type of accommodation, visitors staying in hotel rooms in Paris can expect to pay a fee ranging from 75 cents (65 pence) to €15 (£12.90) per night. This is in addition to reported increases in the price of metro fares, museum tickets and hotel room rates.

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

The Netherlands has a well-established tourist tax policy, and Amsterdam has a well-established problem with certain types of tourist.

This year, the city’s toeristenbelasting, or tourist tax, will increase from 7 per cent of the cost of a hotel room to 12.5 per cent – applying to cruise passengers and overnight visitors alike. This makes it the highest of its kind in Europe.

Olhão, Portugal

Olhão, a Portuguese fishing town, has started charging a tourist tax of €2 (£1.72) a night between April and October. This is halved in the off-season and does not apply to children under the age of 16.

The charge is also capped at five nights, meaning a visitor can only be charged an additional €10 (£8.60) per trip.

Iceland

During the pandemic, Iceland suspended its tourism taxes. They returned on Jan 1 2024, with hotels and guesthouses charging ISK 600 (£3.46), campsites ISK 300 (£1.73) and cruise ships stopping in Iceland’s ports ISK 1,000 (£5.76).

Iceland has brought back its tourism taxes following a spike in visitors
Iceland has brought back its tourism taxes following a spike in visitors - Thorsten Henn/Getty

It comes after a remarkable year of inbound tourism in the country. There were nearly 800,000 international visitors last summer – up around a quarter from the same period in 2022, according to the Iceland Review. The European Travel Commission reports that both the number of nights stayed, and the number of arrivals, were higher last year than in 2019.

Places that already have tourism taxes

Austria

The tourism levy in Austria depends on the province a traveller is visiting. In Vienna, for example, it typically amounts to just over 3 per cent of an accommodation bill.

Belgium

Tourist taxes vary between cities in Belgium, but they typically cost between €3 (£2.58) and €6 (£5.16).

Bhutan

Bhutan has been charging a significant sum of money to tourists since its opening in 1974. This fee currently sits at $200 (£157) per person, per day in the high season, with reductions in the low season.

Officials say the fees are used in part to maintain the country’s heritage and offset the carbon emissions of visitors.

Bhutan charges £157 per person, per day in the high season - fees used to maintain its heritage and offset carbon emissions
Bhutan charges £157 per person, per day in the high season - fees used to maintain its heritage and offset carbon emissions - MONEY SHARMA/AFP via Getty

Bulgaria

Those staying in Bulgarian holiday resorts should expect a small additional fee, typically €2 (£1.72) per person.

Budapest, Hungary

People staying in the Hungarian capital are charged an additional 4 per cent fee, per night, to their hotel bill.

Caribbean islands

Taxes vary across Caribbean islands, with some charging upon departure, as an addition to the hotel bill, or both. Typically, tourist taxes average between 8 per cent (Grenada, St Lucia) and 15 per cent (Jamaica). Arrival and departure taxes also differ across the region, with the Bahamas charging $15 (£11.78), Jamaica charging $35 (£27.50) and Bermuda $50 (£39).

Croatia

Visitors can expect to pay an additional 10 kuna (£1.10) per person per night.

Germany

Germany’s tourist taxes vary between cities. In Berlin, the amount equates to around 5 per cent of the total accommodation bill.

Italy 

Taxes are set by individual municipalities in Italy. Generally, the amount varies from €2 (£1.72) to €5 (£3.90) per day, per person. Children, disabled travellers and their carers and patients admitted to health facilities are usually exempt.

Japan 

Tourists visiting Japan pay a 1,000 yen (£5.40) departure tax to support the country’s infrastructure. As government officials worry about overcrowding in some of Japan’s largest cities, some prefectures have instigated additional taxes of their own (amounting to around 50 pence per visit).

Malaysia

In Malaysia, tourists are charged RM10 (or £1.70) per room, per night. In some regions, children and those travelling for medical reasons are exempt.

New Zealand

Most international visitors (excluding those from Australia) must pay a $35 (£17) levy to enter New Zealand. It “aims to address current challenges in the tourism and conservation systems”.

Prague, Czech Republic

In Prague, the tourist tax typically costs around 50 Czech Koruna per night, or £1.74.

Slovenia

Like many tourist taxes, Slovenia’s varies between regions. Expect a higher rate – around €3 (£2.60) – in popular destinations like Ljubljana and Bled.

Switzerland

Depending on the region and accommodation quality, Switzerland’s tourist taxes are usually between CHF 2 (£1.84) to CHF 7 (£6.43) per person, per night.

UAE

In Abu Dhabi, hotels typically impose a tourism fee of 6 per cent on guests’ hotel bills, in addition to a fixed fee of AED 15 (£3.20) per room, per night. In Dubai and Ras Al Khaimah, the price varies on the quality of accommodation: fees range from AED 7 (£1.50) to AED 20 (£4.30) per night.

Hotels in Abu Dhabi typically impose a tourism fee of 6 per cent on guests’ bills
Hotels in Abu Dhabi typically impose a tourism fee of 6 per cent on guests’ bills - Angelo Cavalli / robertharding/Getty

USA

Tourist taxes are not federally legislated in the US; states and regions have the ability to charge varying fees. In San Francisco, for example, the hotel tax rate is 16.25 per cent, which includes a 14 per cent “transient occupancy tax” and a 2.25 per cent “tourism improvement” fee.

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