Thailand is about to add an arrival ‘tourist’ tax of 300 baht. But it is not really a tourist tax as it will apply to all foreigners entering Thailand including you. No waiver, not even your work permit or diplomatic status will help. The proposal, which will come into force in Q4, 2022, will be in the form of a 300 baht levy added to your inbound airfares.
But Thailand has had arrivals and departures in the past and the truth is that they have no long-term impact on the number of people coming through the turnstiles. But the new arrival tax is currently making headlines in Thailand due to its ‘bad timing’ and confirmation that it will be used as a form of compulsory insurance coverage for up to 30 days.
The governor of Thailand’s tourism authority said a portion of the fee would be “used for the care of tourists” as health insurance at times did not cover them.
There are many more questions to be asked about this, but for now, is Thailand the only country in the world to have imposed any kind of tourism tax? Not at all
Many countries are trying to recover their battered tourism industries. Countries such as Thailand, which relied heavily on tourism numbers as a measurable proportion of their GDP, are particularly keen to bring back their tourists. But this time they’re also going in their pockets on the way, to the tune of 300 baht.
Again, many countries already had tourist taxes, some of them hidden among other taxes, some more obvious – hidden in inbound airfares or applicable in the form of a value-added tax or hotel tax.
Let’s examine the world of tourist taxes from around the world. The list is by no means exhaustive, but just an example…
Australia has no tourist tax, but does charge a goods and services tax for most products and services. Tourists may get a refund of some of these taxes.
In Austria, you pay hotel accommodation tax. In Vienna or Salzburg (home of ‘The Sound of Music’), you’ll pay an additional 3.02% on the hotel bill per person. The tourism levy is also known as the Tourismusgesetz and the Behrbergungsbeitrej.
Also there is a hotel tax where you pay for each night of your stay. Antwerp and Bruges charge a per-room rate. Rates vary in different parts of Brussels. This is usually around €7.50.
The tourism tax of Bhutan is one of the highest in the world. The minimum daily fee for most foreigners is around US$250 (€228) per person per day – a little less in the low season. But it includes accommodation, domestic transportation, a guide, food and all entrance fees. Sounds like a bargain!
Bulgaria imposes a tourist fee of approximately €1.50 for an overnight stay.
Most Caribbean islands apply tourist tax, either in the form of hotel tax or departure fee…
Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Bonaire, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Maarten, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, and the US Virgin Islands all have tourist taxes – from €13 in the Bahamas to €45 in Antigua and Barbuda.
Croatia has a tourism tax of €1.33 but this only applies during the summer season.
Only the capital Prague levies a tourist tax of just under €1.00.
Dubai and UAE
Restaurants, hotels, hotel apartments and resorts in the United Arab Emirates may charge one or more of the following…
- 10 percent tax on room rate
- 10 percent service charge
- 10 percent municipal fee
- 6 to 10 percent city tax
- 6 percent tourism fee.
In Dubai, hotels charge a ‘tourism dirham fee’ per room (for a maximum of 30 consecutive nights) from US$2 to US$5 per night stay, depending on the category of the hotel.
Hotel tax in France ranges from €0.20 to €4 per person per night.
Germany also has a “culture tax” and a “bed tax” in some of the larger cities – Frankfurt, Hamburg and Berlin – approx. 5% of your hotel bill.
There is a room tax of about €4 per room per night in Greece.
Hotel taxes only apply to about 4% of the bill in Budapest.
Tourist taxes in Indonesia only apply to Bali, which is approximately US$10 per room per night.
Venice may introduce a tourism tax this year. And, when in Rome, the fee is €3 – €7 per night, depending on the type of room. Some other tourist destinations also levy their own tax.
Visitors to Japan pay approximately US$8 upon departure from the country.
Malaysia has a flat rate room tax, around US$4 per person per night.
Nepal Tourism Board charges US$8.80 (approx) as tourism service fee from each departing tourist. In addition to the new airport service fee, the minimum air ticket price will reach US$62 excluding fare and fuel surcharges.
There is an International Visitor Protection and Tourism Levy of NZ$35 upon arrival to the Land of the Long White Cloud. Australians are exempt.
Hotel room tax is 7% of the price of a hotel room in Netherlands.
Hotel tax is applicable in Portugal to everyone over the age of 13. It’s about US$2, but you only have to pay for it during the first week of your stay.
As a tourist in Singapore, if you make a purchase in excess of S$100 (including Goods and Services Tax) at participating stores, you can claim a refund on the 7% GST you paid on your purchase . It kind of gets complicated. But, yes, there are indirect taxes for tourists, some of which you can claim as a refund when you leave.
The tourist magnate has hotel tax, which includes Ljubljana and Bled, approx. US$3.
The Sustainable Tourist Tax, which applies to accommodation on Spain’s Balearic Islands (Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza, Formentera), applies if you are 16 years of age or older. The tax is up to US$ per person per night during the high season.
Tourist tax varies in Switzerland. This can be up to US$2.20 per person per night.
In July 2020, the Chancellor announced a number of initiatives to boost job creation in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, including a temporary 5% value-added tax rate on most tourist and hospitality-related activities.
A hotel tax applies to travelers renting accommodation throughout the United States. It is also called occupancy tax. It is applied as a state-based percentage – the highest is in Houston and ranges up to 17%.
Source: euro news travel