July 11th, 2024

What is the new “tourist tax” and which locations are introducing it?

If you have a trip abroad planned this summer, you might unknowingly be paying one of the new “tourist taxes” that many countries have implemented in 2024.

One region, the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan, has had a tourist tax in place for many years. When the country opened to visitors in 1974, the government did so with a Sustainable Development Fee (SDF) in place for those travelling to it – and the Independent reports that as of 2024, the Bhutan SDF remains at around £78 a day, making it the most expensive in the world.

Yet it now seems that tourist taxes are not just being levied on visitors of remote and pristinely kept locations like Bhutan, but are being applied to several very popular holiday destinations.

Keep reading to learn why so many locations are adopting a tourist tax, how you’ll pay it, and which places are charging it in 2024.

Tourist taxes are being imposed to improve infrastructure, tourism quality, and sustainability

Venice, Italy’s ancient but infrastructurally damaged city, is implementing a tourist tax, known as its “Access Fee”, in order to raise revenue to improve the city for future visitors.

Having welcomed a staggering 30 million tourists in 2019, Lonely Planet reports, Venice’s €5 a day Access Fee is designed to raise funds to protect its infrastructure over the long term.

Other cities, like Barcelona, have slightly different aims behind their tourist tax.

According to Euronews, Barcelona’s daily €3.75 tax is designed “to contain the number of tourists and increase income because our model is no longer mass tourism but quality tourism, which adds value to the city”.

Meanwhile, countries like France have imposed different rates of tax depending on where tourists decide to go.

For instance, the Daily Record reports that visitors attending the Paris Olympics could expect to have up to £50 a night added to their hotel bills in the form of tourist tax. On the other hand, smaller, more rural French towns and cities might only charge a few euros a night.

Further afield, countries like New Zealand apply a tax when visitors register their tourist visa (as it stands, New Zealand charges $35, or £17). The International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy (IVL) is in place to “improve infrastructure and sustainability projects in the country’s touristic attractions”.

The tourist tax is likely to be added to your accommodation or visa costs

For most locations, you won’t need to seek out a way to pay their tourist tax.

The tax is usually levied through hotels, hostels, or apartment accommodation at the point of booking. If you see an additional tax at the bottom of your bill, this might be the local tourist tax.

As you read earlier, some countries that require entry visas are applying the tax to the cost of obtaining the visa before you travel.

Several places in Europe, the UK, Asia, and Oceania have begun charging a tourist tax in 2024

In the UK, Manchester has begun charging a tourist tax this year, levied on those staying in accommodation overnight.

This means tourists could be charged an additional £1 for every night they spend in the city. The city of Liverpool has a similar system for levying a small amount of tax on overnight visitors.

Elsewhere in Europe, you might expect to pay a tourist tax in some parts of:

  • France
  • Spain
  • Austria
  • Italy
  • Hungary
  • Belgium
  • Czech Republic
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Portugal
  • Switzerland
  • Bulgaria
  • Slovenia

You might also be charged a tourist tax if you visit:

  • The US
  • New Zealand
  • Bhutan
  • Malaysia
  • Indonesia
  • The Caribbean Islands

It may be a good idea to research the tourist tax levied in the specific area you’re travelling to this summer – that way, you will be prepared for any additional costs before they arise.

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