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From Venice to Bali, new fees are being chged to try and combat overtourism.
Overtourism could have been 2023’s word of the year in the travel industry.
News of the negative impacts of too many tourists was everywhere. The world’s most popular destinations, like Venice, Barcelona and New Zealand, are struggling to keep visitor numbers under control.
What is the problem with overtourism? Well, local residents suffer as property becomes unaffordable due to landlords buying up holiday lets. Authorities struggle to manage the rubbish left behind by tourists, and pollution contributes to the climate crisis.
One tactic that destinations are banking on, literally, is tourist taxes: fees that visitors have to pay, on top of the usual expenses like accommodation and food.
This is not a new concept, of course. If you’ve travelled abroad, you’ve likely paid a tourist tax before. You may never even have noticed it – as it’s sometimes worked into airline tickets or the taxes you pay at your hotel.
Read on for the places that introduced tourist taxes in 2023, and those that are to come in 2024.
Barcelona is increasing its tourist tax (again) in 2024
In 2022, city authorities announced that Barcelona’s tourist tax would be increased over the next two years.
Since 2012, visitors to the Catalan capital have had to pay both the regional tourist tax and an extra city-wide surcharge.
On 1 April 2023, city authorities increased the municipal fee to €2.75.
A second increase will happen on 1 April 2024, when the fee will rise to €3.25.
The tax applies to visitors staying in official tourist accommodation.
The council said the proceeds will be used to fund the city’s infrastructure, including improvements to roads, bus services and escalators.
Valencia will impose a tourist tax in 2024
Valencia will introduce a tourist tax for travellers staying in all types of accommodation in the region, including hotels, hostels, apartments and campsites.
Officially called the Valencian Tax on Tourist Stays (IVET), it will come into effect in 2024, though an exact date has not been announced yet.
Visitors will have to pay between 50 cents and €2 per night depending on their chosen accommodation, for up to seven nights. Cruise ship passengers will pay €1.50 per day.
Authorities say the fee will go towards the sustainable development of the region’s tourism sector. Proceeds will also be used to provide more affordable housing for locals in tourism hotspots.
Olhão, Portugal, introduced a tourist tax in 2023
Olhão, a Portuguese fishing town popular with tourists, has started charging visitors €2 a night between April and October.
The tax is reduced to €1 between November and March. It will not apply to children under the age of 16 and it will be capped at five nights – so a maximum of €10 – per trip.
The fee is being used to minimise the impact of tourism on the Algarve town, including improving cleanliness and security, according to local authorities.
Two of the Algarve’s 16 municipalities already charged a tourist tax: Faro (€1.5 per night up to seven nights between March and October) and Vila Real de Santo António (€1 per day up to seven days).
Bali: Tourist tax to be introduced in February 2024
Known as the Land of the Gods, Bali attracts visitors from all over the world to its beaches, islands and spiritual culture.
But tourism also means problems and Bali is hoping to solve some of these with a new tax that must be paid to enter the country.
From 14 February 2024, international and domestic arrivals will have to pay a fee of IDR 150,000 (€8.80). This will need to be paid at special booths at Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport. Authorities have promised the process will take less than 30 seconds.
They said the proceeds will go towards projects that ‘preserve the environment, nature and culture as well as improving quality’ of Bali.
Is Thailand introducing a tourist fee in 2024?
Back in 2022, it was rumoured that a tourist tax would be introduced in June 2023. This didn’t happen, then the next deadline of October didn’t happen either.
and there have been no confirmed plans for 2024, either.
Airlines and airline-representing bodies are said to have challenged the fee.
When it was first rumoured, it was said the tax would be 300 Baht (€8).
In 2022, the governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand told Reuters news agency that part of the fee will “be used to take care of tourists” as there have been times when health insurance didn’t cover them. It will also help finance further developments of tourist attractions, such as the Grand Palace in Bangkok.
Venice’s tourist tax: When will visitors have to pay to enter in 2024?
Venice‘s tourist tax has been the subject of much debate and delays. The city is one of the most overtouristed in Europe, forcing locals out of the city centre’s narrow and crowded streets.
It is now confirmed that the lagoon city will trial an entry fee for part of 2024.
Visitors will have to pay a fee of €5 to enter on peak weekends and other days between April and mid-July – 29 days in total.
The day-tripper fee will be in force during peak hours (8.30 am – 4 pm), meaning visitors who come into Venice for dinner or a concert won’t have to pay.
The entry fee aims to reduce crowds, encourage longer visits and improve quality of life for residents.
Proceeds from the entry fees will go towards services that help the residents of the city, like maintenance, cleaning and reducing living costs.
Read this article for full details on Venice’s tourist tax.
These are all the countries where you already have to pay a tourist fee to get in
Many countries already have a tourist fee in place, for a variety of reasons.
For some, it’s to do with trying to curb the number of tourists and to prevent overtourism.
For others it’s almost like a sustainability tax on each visitor. The money from these taxes goes towards maintaining tourism facilities and protecting natural resources.
In Austria you pay an overnight accommodation tax, which varies depending on which province you’re in. In Vienna or Salzburg, you’ll pay an extra 3.02 per cent on the hotel bill per person.
The tourism levy is also known as Tourismusgesetz and Berherbergungsbeiträge.
The tourist tax in Belgium is also applied to accommodation, for every night you stay there.
The fee is sometimes included in the room rate of the hotel but some separate the cost out and make it a supplemental charge, so you need to check your bill carefully.
Antwerp and Bruges charge a rate per room. The rate in Brussels varies depending on the hotel’s size and rating.
In general it’s around €7.50.
While most countries’ tourist fees are below around €20, Bhutan’s tax is sky high in comparison.
The minimum daily fee for most foreigners is: $250 (€228) per person per day during high season and slightly less in low season.
But it covers a lot, including accommodation, transportation in the country, a guide, food, and entry fees.
Bulgaria applies a tourist fee on overnight stays.
It’s very low and varies depending on area and hotel classification – up to around €1.50.
Most Caribbean islands have tourist taxes added to the hotel cost or a departure fee.
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 all have some form of fee for visitors.
Fees range from €13 in the Bahamas to €45 in Antigua and Barbuda.
Croatia raised its tourist tax in 2019. The increased rate only applies during peak season in the summer though.
Visitors pay around 10 kuna (€1.33) per person per night.
You only need to pay a tourist fee in the Czech Republic when visiting the capital city, Prague.
It is very small (under €1) and paid per person, per night, up to 60 nights. The tax does not apply to children under 18.
France: Higher tourist tax in Paris thanks to the 2024 Olympics
There is a ‘taxe de séjour’ to pay in France. It is added to your hotel bill and varies depending on which city you are in.
The rates range from €0.20 to around €4 per person, per night.
Tourist hotspots like Paris and Lyon use the money to maintain tourism infrastructure.
In anticipation of the 2024 Olympics, the tourist tax on hotel rooms have increased by 200 per cent, as of January 2024.
Depending on the type of accommodation, the fee ranges from €0.75 to €15 per night.
Germany has what they call a ‘culture tax’ (‘kulturförderabgabe’), and also a “bed tax” (a bettensteuer), in cities including Frankfurt, Hamburg, and Berlin.
The fee is around 5 per cent of your hotel bill.
The tourist tax in Greece is based on the number of hotel stars or number of rooms you’re renting. It can be anything up to €4 per room.
It was introduced by the Greek Ministry of Tourism to help cut the country’s debt.
Tourist fees in Hungary only apply in Budapest.
Travellers have to pay an extra 4 per cent every night based on the price of their room.
Tourist taxes in Italy depend on where you are. In Sicily, fees range from €1 to €3 per night.
Whereas, Rome’s fee ranges from €3 to €7 per night depending on the type of room, but some smaller cities charge more.
In Japan it comes in the form of a departure tax. Visitors to Japan pay 1,000 yen (around €8) as they leave the country.
The official tourism website claims this small tax makes “a significant difference” to the economy.
Malaysia’s tourist tax is a flat rate and applied per night you stay.
It’s not much more than about €4 a night.
Many tourists, people on working holidays, and some students and workers coming to New Zealand must pay an International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy (IVL) when they arrive.
But people from Australia are exempt.
It’s $35 New Zealand dollars which is around €21.
The Netherlands has a land tourist tax and a water tourist tax.
In Amsterdam, this currently amounts to 7 per cent of the cost of a hotel room. It’s called ‘toeristenbelasting’.
In 2024, it will rise to 12.5 per cent, making it the highest tourist tax in Europe. It will apply to cruise passengers and overnight visitors alike.
Portugal’s low tourist tax is paid per person per night and is only applicable to guests who are 13 and over.
It’s around €2 and currently applies in 13 of Portugal’s 308 municipalities, including the cities of Porto, Lisbon and Faro.
You only have to pay it on the first seven days of your stay.
The tourist tax in Slovenia varies based on location and hotel rating.
It’s slightly higher in larger cities and resort towns, including Ljubljana and Bled – around €3.
If you’re heading to Ibiza or Majorca, you’ll have to pay a tourist tax.
The Sustainable Tourist Tax, which applies to holiday accommodation on Spain’s Balearic Islands (Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza, Formentera), also applies to each holidaymaker aged 16 or over.
During the high season, the tax can reach up to €4 per night.
The tourist tax in Switzerland varies depending on the location. The cost is per night and per person and is around €2.20.
Quotes for accommodation usually do not include the tourist tax – it is specified as a separate amount, so it’s easier to keep track of.
And it only applies to stays under 40 days.
A hotel tax or lodging tax for travellers renting accommodation is charged in most of the United States. It’s also called an occupancy tax.
The fees apply at hotels, motels and inns. The highest rate is reportedly paid in Houston, with a 17 per cent tax on your hotel bill.