Charging Tourists a Fee

NickOttensNickOttens Barcelona, SpainPosts: 362 admin
Should cities start charging tourists a fee?

From Bloomberg:
A few places are already trying this. Venice will soon start charging people to come to the city for day trips. New Zealand has introduced a tourist tax. Various other European countries and cities have implemented or plan to implement taxes on hotels and other overnight accommodation. This is a simple application of congestion pricing, the textbook economics solution to the problem of overcrowding.

Click here to read the whole thing.

Speaking as a Barcelona resident, I sympathize. I don't go into the old city in the summer unless I absolutely have to, because it's so crowded.

It seems to me a fee would discourage exactly the sort of tourism we want less of; the kind that doesn't spend a lot of money on dinners and museums but wakes up the whole neighborhood at 3 in the morning when they're kicked out of the bar. The people who don't mind spending €50 to see the Sagrada Família, by contrast, probably wouldn't be deterred by a, say, €100 tourism tax.

The Catalan regional government currently levies a (minuscule) tourism tax indirectly, on hotels and cruise ships, etc. That brings in millions of euros each year, which the city can spend on its residents, but tourists don't see it, so they're not deterred. What would be the better way of implementing a fee?
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