Tourist tax: what and where to pay it?

Surely many have heard that the popular tourist cities in Europe, such as Amsterdam or Venice, have been trying to fight the crazy influx of tourists for several years now. One of the ways to control tourism in cities and countries is to introduce a “tourist tax”. But what is it, how does it work, who pays this tax and what is its rate? We will deal with these and other questions below, as well as see what rates of tourist taxes await us in 2020.

The history of tourist taxes dates back to the Middle Ages. The payment of the visitor tax has been known since 1306 in Baderecht, and since 1507 it has been fixed in Baden-Baden. More recently, with the development of tourism, such taxes have become almost ubiquitous. Organized tourist tax is collected from the middle of the XIX century in the resorts of Austria, Germany, since 1919 the concept of “tourist tax” exists in French legislation. Currently, the highest rates of tourist tax collection exist in countries that receive a high percentage of national income from tourism, such as Italy.

What is “tourist tax”?

Tourist taxes are small levies that are usually collected indirectly through accommodation providers or travel companies, and are usually targeted at tourists who stay overnight in the city.

What are the taxes in tourism?

Tourists and tourism organizers are affected by different types of “tourist taxes”: city tax, resort tax, environmental tax, tourist tax and others.

Who introduces the tax and is it obligatory to pay it?

Most tourist taxes are imposed by cities that are popular with tourists. Sometimes the need for the introduction of such cathedrals is determined by the domestic legislation of the countries, and the desirability is declared by the World Tourism Organization at the UN.

It is mandatory to pay such a tax almost always when you visit other cities (sometimes in business hotels it is possible not to pay the fee if you can prove that the profit is not for cultural and tourist purposes).

How to pay tourist tax?

You don’t have to worry about this – everything will be taken care of at the hotel or in another place of your residence: the tax rate agreed in a particular place is included in the room price. The fee will be collected from you regardless of how you booked a room: online, by phone, or just settled in from the street.

If you went on a package tour, then upon arrival or when checking out from the hotel, you may be asked to hand over a certain amount in cash to the group leader, if the item “tourist tax” was not indicated on the invoice for payment of your voucher.

What are the tourist taxes paid for?

It depends on the country and the city, but mainly to maintain infrastructure for local residents who suffer from an overabundance of tourists (the so-called overtourism), as well as money can be used to improve the image of a certain place in the global tourism market or to rebrand a location.

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Where and how much will you have to pay?

We have collected information on what kind of tourist tax you will need to pay for a number of destinations popular among Ukrainian tourists in 2020.

We took the basic information on the website of the European Association of Tour Operators (ETOA), where it can be clarified over time, because tax rates are constantly changing.

Austria

In Austria, tourists must pay a tax on accommodation per night (including camping), which is levied depending on the province in which you are located.

The tourist tax, which can be charged, is called Tourismusgesetz and Beherbergungsbeiträge, and currently ranges from 0.36 to 3.2% of the cost of a hotel per person per night in Vienna.

Children under 15 (and sometimes under 14) are exempt from tax.

Belgium

In Belgium there are a number of tax levies that vary from city to city.

In Antwerp there is a flat rate of € 2.39 per person per night in hotels.

Accommodation subject to the Tourism for All Ordinance and children under the age of 18 are exempt from tax – with the exception of Bruges and Ghent, where children under 12 are exempt from paying.

If you are staying in Bruges, the tourist tax will be € 2.12 per person, per night. This applies to all tourist sites, including hotels, guesthouses and hostels.

The city tax in Ghent is EUR 3 per person, per night. Some hotels will charge a room rate fee, but others may lower rates and charge you as an add-on.

Brussels has a city tax that is charged per room per night depending on the area, hotel size and hotel classification.

Bulgaria

Bulgaria levies a city tax or a resort tax on visitors, which depends on the area and hotel classification.

A city tax is charged per person per night, ranging from BGN 0.2 (EUR 0.1) to BGN 1.4 (EUR 0.72).

The resort fee is charged in some areas per stay, not per person per night. The size will vary from area to area and it is better to check either with the booked hotel or with your travel agent.

Croatia

In Croatia, holidaymakers over the age of 18 must pay the Sojourn Tax, a residence tax, which is typically around 10 Croatian kuna (1.34 euros) per person per night, although this depends on the accommodation category and season.

Children between 12 and 18 years of age receive a 50% discount, and children under 12 are exempt from tax.

Each city or town falls into one of four AD categories. Dubrovnik, for example, is in Category A. The tax rate data is shown in the table below, based on the ETOA as of Fall 2019.

“Early” season

“High season

Low season

“Late” season

Category “A”

0.74 euro

0.94 euro

0.6 euro

0.74 euro

Category “B”

0.6 euro

0.81 euro

€ 0.47

0.6 euro

Category “C”

€ 0.47

0.67 euros

0,34 euro

€ 0.47

Category “D”

0,32 euro

0.54 euro

0.27 euros

0,32 euro

France

In France there is a “Taxe de Sejour” or tourist tax which is charged per person per night and varies according to the quality and level of accommodation.

Prices range from € 0.50 to € 4 per person per night. You can see how the prices are broken down at service-public.fr.

Paris charges another 15% of the tax, which means you will have to pay an additional € 0.23 to € 4.60.

Children under 18 are exempt from tax.

Germany

Kulturförderabgabe (culture tax) or Bettensteuer (bed tax) are some of the terms used for tourist taxes in Germany.

Taxes range from € 0.50 to € 4 per person per night, or 7.5% of the room rate, depending on the type of accommodation, room rate and location.

For example, in Berlin you will be charged 5% of the room rate and the tax is limited to 21 consecutive days, although business travelers are exempt from the tax.

At the same time in Munich, for example, there is no tourist tax, although it is one of the most popular cities to visit in Germany.

Greece

In Greece, the tourist tax was introduced only in 2018.

It is € 0.50 per person per day for those staying in one or two-star hotels, up to € 1.50 in three-star hotels, € 3 in 4-star hotels and € 4 in five-star hotels.

Italy

In Italy, tourists have to pay a tax called Tassa di soggiorno.

Fees vary from city to city, based on the hotel’s star rating, and are charged for a specific number of nights, and generally there are benefits for children.

For example, in Rome, you can expect to pay anywhere from € 3 to € 7 per person per day for up to 10 days of stay. Children under 10 years of age are exempt from paying tax.

A table with a breakdown of current taxes in popular cities can be found at italyvacations.com.

Netherlands

In the Netherlands, visitors are charged a tourist accommodation tax called Toeristenbelasting.

It is charged per person per day in more than 400 municipalities, but may vary depending on the class of hotel and type of accommodation.

Others either charge a percentage, which can also vary depending on the hotel’s rating or type of accommodation, or they may charge nothing.

For example, in the tourist favorite Amsterdam, there is a city tax of 7% on the room rate.

Spain

If you are heading to Ibiza or Mallorca, then be prepared for an increased tourist tax (valid from 2017). A single and flat tourist tax, which applies to resorts in the Balearic Islands of Spain (Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza, Formentera), applies to every holidaymaker aged 16 and over.

In high season, those staying in luxury hotels pay € 4 per person per day, € 3 for mid-range hotels and € 2 for apartments and cruise ships (even if you don’t stay on the islands) and € 1 for campgrounds and hostels …

Prices are reduced by 75% if you are traveling from November to April, and the tax is reduced by 50% after eight nights on the island.

“Tasa turistica” is a special tourist tax that is charged when visiting Catalonia (this is where Barcelona is located, perhaps the most visited city in Spain by tourists).

You will have to pay between € 0.45 and € 2.25 per person, per night for the first seven nights, depending on the hotel category and whether you are staying in Barcelona itself or other cities in the region.

Children under 16 are exempt from the payment.

There is no tourist tax in the Canary Islands yet, but its introduction is currently under consideration, so it will be necessary to check this information shortly.

USA

Travel Tax is levied on travelers in most states, including California and Florida, when renting accommodation (room, whole house or apartment), hotel, motel, and any other possible place to settle, if the stay does not exceed 30 days.

The tax is collected at the time payment for the stay is made, and then the operator transfers it to the city or county.

New York City has had a 5.9% hotel room tax rate since December 2013. In addition, there is also New York State Hotel Unit Fee in New York, which is $ 1.5 / day per room.

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In the state of Texas, taxes are collected from hotel rooms and other places for temporary accommodation costing more than $ 15 / day, and the local tax is an amount of $ 2 / day or more, but the flat rate is 6% of the room price.

Also in the United States, the practice of paying for resort services or the so-called. “Visit fee”. This is a separate payment and is subject to local taxes. A similar situation is present in all hotels in Las Vegas, in many hotels in Florida, parts of hotels in New York, Nevada, sometimes found in Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean islands.

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