Thailand is about to add an arrival ‘tourist’ tax of 300 baht. But it’s not really a tourist tax because it will apply to ALL foreigners entering Thailand, including YOU. No exemptions, not even your work permit or diplomatic status will help. The proposal, set to come into force in Q4, 2022, will be in the form of a 300 baht levy added to your inbound airfare.
But Thailand has had arrival and departure taxes in the past and, truth is, they don’t have any long term effect on the number of people coming through the turnstiles. But the new arrival tax is catching the headlines in Thailand at the moment because of its ‘bad timing’ and confirmation that it will be used as a compulsory insurance coverage for up to 30 days.
The governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand said 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.
Plenty of more questions to be asked about that, but for now, is Thailand the only country in the world to impose some sort of tourism tax?
Of course not. Many countries are trying to recover their battered tourist industries. Countries like Thailand, that relied heavily on tourism numbers as a measurable proportion of their GDP, are particularly keen to woo back their tourists. But this time they’re also going to reach into their pocket on the way in, to the tune of 300 baht.
Then again, there are many countries that already had tourist taxes in place, some of them hidden in amongst other taxes, some more obvious – hidden in the inbound airfare or applied as a value added tax or hotel tax.
Let’s check out the world of tourist taxes around the world. The list is by no means complete, but just an example…
Australia doesn’t have a tourist tax as such, but charges a Goods and Services Tax for most products and services. Tourists are able to get a refund of some of these taxes.
In Austria you pay a hotel accommodation tax. In Vienna or Salzburg (home of ‘The Sound of Music’), you’ll pay an extra 3.02% on the hotel bill per person. The tourism levy is also known as Tourismusgesetz and Berherbergungsbeiträge.
Also has a hotel tax where you pay for each night of your stay. Antwerp and Bruges charge a rate per room. The rates vary in different parts of Brussels. It’s usually around €7.50.
Bhutan’s tourism tax is one of the world’s highest. The minimum daily fee for most foreigners is about US$250 (€228) per person per day – a bit less in the low season. BUT it covers accommodation, domestic transportation, a guide, food and all entry fees. Sounds like a bargain really!
Bulgaria applies a tourist fee of around €1.50 on overnight stays.
Most Caribbean islands apply tourist taxes, either as a hotel tax or 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 tourist taxes – from €13 in the Bahamas to €45 in Antigua and Barbuda.
Croatia has a tourism tax of €1.33 but it only applies in the summer season.
Only the capital Prague imposes a tourist tax of just under €1.00.
Dubai and the UAE
Restaurants, hotels, hotel apartments and resorts in the UAE might charge one or more of the following…
- 10 per cent tax on the room rate
- 10 per cent service charge
- 10 per cent municipality fee
- 6 to 10 per cent city tax
- 6 per cent tourism fee.
In Dubai, hotels charge ‘Tourism Dirham Fee’ per room per night of occupancy (for a maximum of 30 consecutive nights) ranging from US$2 – $5 depending on the category of the hotel.
France has a hotel tax of between €0.20 to around €4 per person, per night.
Germany has what they call a “culture tax” and also a “bed tax” in some of the larger cities – Frankfurt, Hamburg, and Berlin – approx. 5% of your hotel bill.
Greece has a room tax of around €4 per room, per night.
Hotel taxes only apply in Budapest of around 4% of the bill.
Tourist taxes in Indonesia only apply in Bali, which is around US$10 per room, per night.
Venice may introduce its own tourism tax this year. And, when in Rome, the fees are €3 – €7 per night depending on the type of room. Some other tourism hotspots also impose their own taxes
Visitors to Japan pay around US$8 as they depart the country.
Malaysia has a flat rate room tax, around US$4 a night, per person.
The Nepal Tourism Board charges US$8.80 (approx) as tourism service fee from each departing tourist. With the addition of the new airport service charge, the minimum price of an air ticket will reach US$62, excluding fare and fuel surcharges.
The Land of the Long White Cloud has an International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy of NZ$35 when they arrive. Australians are exempt.
The Netherlands has a hotel room tax of 7% of the cost of a hotel room.
Portugal has a hotel tax applied to everyone over 13 years of age. It’s around uS$2, but you only have to pay it during the first week of your stay.
As a tourist in Singapore, if you make any purchase of more than S$100 (including Goods and Services Tax) at participating shops, you may claim a refund on the 7% GST paid on your purchases. It sort of gets complicated. But, yes, there’s indirect taxes for tourists, some which can claim as a refund when you leave.
Tourist magnets have a hotel tax, including Ljubljana and Bled, approx. $3.
The Sustainable Tourist Tax, which applies to accommodation on Spain’s Balearic Islands (Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza, Formentera), is applicable if you’re aged 16 or over. The tax is up to US$ per night, per person during the high season.
The tourist tax in Switzerland varies. It can be up to US$2.20 per night per person.
In July 2020 the Chancellor announced a series 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 is applied for travelers renting accommodation across the US. It’s also called an occupancy tax. It is applied as a state-based percentage – the highest is in Houston and is up to 17%.
SOURCE: Euro News Travel