Destinations that will charge tourists extra to visit in 2022

Sarah Pollok, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Fri, 21 Jan 2022, 2:28pm
Thailand will join an ever-growing list of destinations who charge tourists extra for visiting. (Photo / 123rf)
Thailand will join an ever-growing list of destinations who charge tourists extra for visiting. (Photo / 123rf)

Destinations that will charge tourists extra to visit in 2022

Sarah Pollok, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Fri, 21 Jan 2022, 2:28pm

A trip to Thailand is about to get more expensive for travellers, 300-Baht (NZ$13) more expensive, to be exact. 

The tourist tax will be charged from April this year and go towards moving the nation towards a more environmentally sustainable, high-value model of tourism. 

Speaking to Bangkok Post, the Tourism Authority of Thailand governor, Yuthasak Supasor said the money would be spent on local projects that supported this goal. 

"We hope this fund will support a national tourism makeover creating more safe and clean places," he said. 

Tourism taxes around the world 

When it comes to tourist taxes, Thailand is late to the game. Other equally popular destinations around the world have long charged travellers extra for the pleasure of visiting. 

Countries like Spain, France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands as well as the United States, Scotland, Mexico and dozens of Caribbean countries, charge tourist taxes. 

If you can't recall pulling out your wallet to pay a tourist tax, it's likely because most countries simply tack it onto the cost of an airline ticket or hotel bill. 

In New Zealand, those visiting for travel and working holidays as well as certain students and workers must pay a $35 International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy. 
However, the cost is small compared to the $295 - 370 fee Bhutan charges, per day. 

The fee covers accommodation, food, entry fees, a guide and in-country transport but also ensures the country will never be overrun by the typical budget travellers, who spend as little as possible while seeing as much as they can. 

This, in combination with Bhutan's infamous tourist cap, means those who visit are treated to a destination relatively free from traces of over-tourism. 

The reasons for a tourist tax 

Tourist taxes may commonly be discussed as a way for popular destinations to fund the protection and regeneration of their natural and social environment but this isn't the only motive. 

Writing for Tourism Industry Aotearoa (TIA), chief executive Chris Roberts said taxes are also used to regulate tourist behaviour/quantity, fund Covid-19 relief packages, regional marketing, or research or simply provide additional revenue. 

"A well-designed tourism tax can be a practical and meaningful tool in the sustainable management of a destination," Roberts writes, suggesting that New Zealand's International Visitor Levy was a good example. 

Are tourist taxes elitist? 

After the mayor of Venice introduced a 10 euro entrance fee in 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." 

Back in Thailand, Yuthasak was similarly blunt in saying that the additional tax wouldn't be an issue for the 'quality market' their new tourism industry were trying to attract. 

Last March, New Zealand's Tourism Minister Stuart Nash told RNZ that visitors who spent as little as $10 a day were "not really the sort of tourists we want." Instead, Nash said they were interested in 'high value' tourists. 

Nash was careful to clarify that a high value visitor didn't necessarily mean one who had high wealth or net worth. 

His distinction is a fair one to make – people who aren't typically wealthy often save up and spend large while on holiday. However, it seems likely that, for the most part, those spending large are people who can usually afford to. 

The topic of tourism taxes often leads to accusations of elitism as these costs can further inhibit people from affording travel. 

However, charging or limiting tourists simply acknowledges that the burden of tourism shouldn't be carried by the destination's people or environment but the visitors themselves. 

Despite the cheap flights and accessible globe, our right to travel should never outweigh the right for local people or natural environments to flourish. 

What countries charge tourists? 

Austria — An overnight accommodation tax is often included on the hotel bill as an extra 3.02 per cent per person. 

Belgium — Tourist tax is applied to accommodation poer night; while rules vary between cities, it will be around €7.50. 

Bhutan — The minimum fee per day in Bhutan is US$250 during the high season and covers accommodation, transport, guide, food and entry fees. 

Bulgaria — Tourists are charged for overnight stays. This varies between area and hotel class but is around €1.50. 

Caribbean Islands — Most islands add taxes into your hotel cost or as a departure fee which ranges from €45 in Barbuda and Antigua to €13 in the Bahamas. 

Croatia — The tax was increased in 2019 to €1.33 per person per night and only applies during summer. 

Czech Republic — You'll only pay a fee if visiting the capital city of Prague and over 18 years old. The fee is less than €1 per person, per night. 

France — The "taxe de séjour" is added to the hotel bill and ranges from €0.20 ($0.3) to around €4 ($6.7) depending on where you are. 

Germany — Ever the overachiever, Germany charge two taxes, a "culture tax" and a "bed tax" in some cities, which is often 5 per cent of your hotel bill. 

Greece — If you're staying at a five-star resort, you'll pay more tourist tax in Greece, where it's calculated depending on the number of hotel stars or the number of rooms you rent. Costs is often around €4 ($6.7) per room. 

Hungary — Budapest is the only city in Hungary with a tourist tax that is calculated as an additional 4 per cent of your room price per night. 

Indonesia — When visiting the hot spot of Bali, you'll pay a single fee of €9 ($15), which goes towards protecting Balinese culture and surroundings. 

Italy — Rates depend on where you are; Rome will set you back €3 – 7 ($5 - 12) per night depending on your room but apparently smaller cities charge more. Meanwhile, Venice may introduce its own separate tax later this year. 

Japan — You'll pay this tax of 1,000 yen (around $13) on the way out. 

Malaysia — Applied per night you stay, this flat-rate tax is often around €4 ($6.7) per night. 

New Zealand — Travellers, visitors on a working holiday, students and some workers will need to pay a one-off $35 fee. Our Australian friends get in for free. 

The Netherlands — Like Germany, this region operates two taxes; a land tourist tax and a water tourist tax. In Amsterdam, this looks like an additional 7 per cent charge of the hotel room cost. 

Portugal — This tax is charged per night per person for visitors aged 13 years and older. Only €2 ($3.4), it will only apply for the first seven days of your stay. 

Slovenia — Based on location and hotel rating, you'll pay a higher fee in large, popular towns like Ljubljana and Bled of around €3 ($5). 

Spain — Those aged 16 and over and heading to islands like Ibiza, Mallorca, Formentera and Menorca will need to pay a tax that peaks at €4 ($6.7) per night during the high season. 

Switzerland — How much you pay depends on location but is often around €2.20 ($3.7) per night and per person. 

USA — Most states charge occupancy tax, which applies to travellers renting at hotels, motels and inns. The highest rate is supposedly Houston, which is 17 per cent of the hotel bill.