Charging Tourists a Fee

NickOttensNickOttens Community ManagerBarcelona, SpainPosts: 804 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?


  • NickOttensNickOttens Community Manager Barcelona, SpainPosts: 804 admin
    It doesn't look like the tourism tax in Barcelona is working.

    From El Pais:
    Far from diminishing, tourist arrivals in Catalonia have surged 23% since the regional charge became effective in 2012.

    It may be because the tax is pretty low, so tourists may not notice it:
    In Catalonia and the Balearics, an overnight accommodation tax is paid at hotels, hostels and holiday rentals, while cruise ships pay for docking at the port (the charge ranges from €0.45 to €5 per person per day depending on the type of accommodation and its location). In the last tax year, Catalonia collected €56 million in tourist taxes, half of that amount in Barcelona. And the Balearics took in €122.7 million.
  • megXprizemegXprize Contributor Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, NigeriaPosts: 17
    Do tourists pay tax on visitation? The tourists should not be taxed. But if a tourist has a job offer he/she may be taxed depending on the job offer terms. It is a pleasure having people visit your country because they love your country. So tourist should be treated with love. Unless the currency rate apart from that, freedom should be given to tourists.
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