- Many countries around the world, including Switzerland and Bhutan, have implemented a tourist tax.
- The money from the tax goes to protecting natural resources and maintaining tourism facilities.
- The tax is becoming more popular as a tool to battle the growing issue of over-tourism.
If you’ve travelled, you’ve likely paid a tourist tax before.
You may have never noticed it; the tax is often worked into airline tickets or the taxes you pay at your hotel or Airbnb. In some countries, like Japan, you pay the tax when you leave the country.
A tourist tax is different from the fee you pay for your visa and from a value-added tax, which is a consumption tax placed on certain products and which you’ll also find in many destinations. In Tanzania, for example, the government began charging an 18% VAT in 2016 on tourist services like such as ground transportation, water safaris, and camping fees, according to Travel Weekly.
You’re likely to encounter tourist taxes in more places in the future, as they’re used to combat over-tourism. The money from the tax goes back into the industry by helping finance brochures, facility maintenance, and updates to museums and other tourist attractions.
Here are 42 countries that charge a tourist tax.
Bhutan has a famously high tourist tax.
The tourist tax to visit Bhutan is a flat fee of $US200 or $US250 a day, depending on what time of year you visit, and you pay it when you book your trip. It covers a lot, though, including accommodation, transportation in the country, a guide, food, and entry fees.
Though the high tourist tax basically guarantees Bhutan will never end up on a list of budget destinations, it manages the number of tourists, helping to preserve the culture and natural resources.
“Bhutan has the highest tourist fee of anywhere in the world. Of course I’d rather not pay that, but at the same time I don’t think Bhutan would be as special as it is without this restriction on tourism,” Ben Schlappig wrote at One Mile at a Time. “The country wouldn’t feel as untouched, and we certainly wouldn’t have access to all the things we do.”
Japan enacted a tourist tax at the beginning of 2019.
Japan has a “sayonara tax,” which went into effect in January. The 1,000 yen ($US9.25) fee, paid by international visitors as they leave the country, will be used to enhance Japan’s tourism infrastructure before the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
The Japan National Tourism Organisation said the revenue would “create a more comfortable, stress-free tourist environment,” “improve access to information about a wide variety of attractions of Japan,” and “develop tourist resources taking advantage of the unique cultural and natural assets of respective regions.”
New Zealand plans to implement a tourist tax in 2019.
Foreign visitors to New Zealand will have to pay 35 New Zealand dollars ($US23.94) each, with some exceptions, including people from Australia. The tax is expected to be implemented in the second half of 2019. According to the NZ Herald, the government wants to use the money for conservation and tourism infrastructure.
France has a “taxe de séjour.”
Many European countries have a tourist tax added to the hotel bill. In France, the tax varies depending on where you are. Places considered a “tourist town” or “resort,” such as Paris and Lyon, collect the tax and use it to maintain tourism infrastructure.
Germany has a similar system for their tourist tax.
Germany has a “culture tax,” called a kulturförderabgabe, and a “bed tax,” a bettensteuer, in cities including Frankfurt, Hamburg, and Berlin. The taxes don’t include the VAT and reach 5 euros ($US5.67) per person a day or 5% of a hotel bill, according to Hostelworld.
You’ll also find a tourist tax in Italy.
Tourist taxes in Italy depend on where you are. Rome’s fee ranges from 3 euros to 7 euros ($US3.40 to $US7.94) a night depending on the type of room, according to Discover Rome, and the Civita di Bagnoregio, nicknamed “The Dying City” because of its location on an eroding hilltop,charges all visitors a 5 euro ($US5.67) entrance fee.
The mayor of Venice introduced a 10 euro ($US11.34) entrance fee for the city at the end of 2018. One local told CNN: “Venice is engulfed by tourists, and we have to reduce the day trippers in favour of a more qualified – let’s call it ‘luxury’ tourism. The alternative is simply that we all are uncomfortable in Venice.”
Spain, a bucket-list country for many, also has a tourist tax.
With nearly 130 million tourist arrivals in Spain in 2017, certain places in the country are charging an extra amount to visitors. During peak season, it may be a flat fee of 4 euros ($US4.54) a day per person, according to Ireland’s Independent.
In Madrid you won’t be charged a tourist tax; however, in Barcelona visitors are charged up to 2.50 euros ($US2.84) a day, according to the Daily Mail.
Anyone staying in Switzerland can expect a tourist tax.
Switzerland’s tourist tax also varies depending on the location. The cost is per night and per person and is less for lodging like hostels or campsites. According to My Swiss Alps, a common amount is 2.50 Swiss francs ($US2.50).
“Quotes for accommodation usually do not include the tourist tax; it is specified as a separate amount,” My Swiss Alps said. “The tax can be included in the final bill, which is common for hotels. The tax can also be paid for separately, which is common for holiday homes. In the latter case, you’ll pay the tax to the landlord or the local tourist agency.”
Greece has a “stayover tax.”
The tourist tax in Greece was implemented at the beginning of 2018 and is based on the number of hotel stars or number of rooms you’re renting. It ranges from 0.50 euros to 4 euros ($US0.57 to $US4.54) a room.
Belgium’s tourist tax costs up to 7.50 euros a room per night.
Grab those Belgian waffles and a pint of beer, but be prepared to pay the tourist tax in Belgium, too. Antwerp, Bruges, Brussels, and many other cities charge a rate per room. Antwerp’s is fixed at 2.39 euros ($US2.72) and Bruges’ is 2 euros ($US2.27), each per person per night. Brussels’ varies depending on a hotel’s size and rating and can reach 7.50 euros ($US8.53), according to Drive Europe.
“The levy is sometimes included in the room rate of the hotels while others will separate the cost out and make it a supplemental charge,” Drive Europe said.
Some Romanian cities charge a city tax.
On top of a VAT, you’ll see a tourist tax on your receipt when you stay in Romania. Hotels in the capital, Bucharest, charge a tax of 1% of the room rate. Major cities charge a city tax, and mountain and sea towns charge a rescue tax.
The tourist tax in Slovenia varies based on location and hotel grade.
The tourist tax regulations changed for Slovenia at the beginning of 2019, when it added a promotion tax. The tax reaches 3.13 euros ($US3.55) a night in larger cities and resort towns, including Ljubljana and Bled, but costs only 1.57 euros ($US1.78) for people between 7 and 18 or who are staying in hostels or camps.
Austria has an overnight accommodation tax.
The overnight accommodation tax in Austria differs by province. If you’re visiting Vienna or Salzburg, you’ll pay an extra 3.02% on the hotel bill per person per night.
Bulgaria has a tourist tax on overnight stays.
Depending on municipality, the tourist tax in Bulgaria ranges from 0.20 lev to 3 lev($US0.12 to $US1.74) a night.
Croatia put a new tourist tax in effect on January 1.
Croatia’s tourist tax had remained fixed since 2005, but tourism to the country is growing thanks to “Game of Thrones” filming King’s Landing scenes there, and the country raised the tax by 25% at the beginning of January.
The increase applies during peak season in the summer and means visitors will pay 10 kuna ($US1.53) per person per night, up from 8 kuna ($US1.22), but anyone staying at a campsite will still pay only 8 kuna.
You’ll encounter a tourist tax on your lodging in Portugal.
Portugal’s tourist tax is a small, nightly, per-person fee applicable to guests who are 13 and over. Lisbon and Porto both charge 2 euros ($US2.27), and according to The Portugal News Online, Algarve is likely to introduce a 1.50 euro fee.
The Netherlands has a tourist tax, and Amsterdam is talking about a special fee for cruise-ship visitors.
The Netherlands has a land tourist tax and a water tourist tax. In Amsterdam, it’s 7% of the cost of a hotel room as of January. Further, the city implemented a tax specific to transit visitors, including people on cruise ships, in January that charges 8 euros ($US9.07) per 24-hour period.
These small fees are common, and you’ll find them in Hungary as well.
In Budapest, visitors have to pay an extra 4% nightly on the price of their room.
You’ll pay a nominal fee with your accommodations in some parts of the Czech Republic.
You’ll have a small amount added to your bill in Prague: 0.50 euros ($US0.57) a night.
20 Caribbean countries or territories have some form of a tourist tax, from a departure fee to a nightly rate.
Most Caribbean islands have tourist taxes added on to the hotel cost or a departure fee. The ones that do are Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, the Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Bonaire, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Maarten, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, and the US Virgin Islands.
According to TripSavvy, the departure fee is often included in the price of an airline ticket or cruise, and it ranges from $US15 in the Bahamas to $US51 in Antigua and Barbuda.
You may not have noticed your extra costs in Bali.
The Jakarta Post reported that Bali, Indonesia, is imposing an official $US10 tourist tax, though the extra fees have been included in visitors’ bills for a while now.
Fauziah Ismail wrote for the New Straits Times in 2017: “I have been to the island eight times in the span of three years. We have had to add a 10 per cent local development tax on our hotel and restaurant bills. We paid higher than the locals to enter tourist sites, like their famous temples and to watch their cultural shows, and was [sic] charged with an airport service fee (which has since been incorporated into the airfares) before our flight home.”
Indonesia also imposes a departure tax, which differs according to airport.
In Malaysia, the tourist tax is a flat rate.
The US has a tourist tax called the “occupancy tax.”
Several states in the US, including California and Texas, have an occupancy tax, which you pay when you book your lodging. The tax applies at hotels, motels, inns, and other, similar places. Turbo Tax, citing Consumer Reports, reported that the highest hotel tax in the country is in Houston, where there’s a 17% tax on your hotel bill.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.