Tourist taxes, they’re an easy way for governments to make a pound / euro / baht or two.
You’re on holiday and happy to splash the cash. It might be an once-in-a-lifetime trip. The exchange rate might be so stacked in your favour that you don’t even notice the tax.
When budgets are tight we need to be a bit cannier about what we spend on a getaway, even if it is the equivalent of just an extra couple of pounds per night.
Here are 7 taxes – some new, some old – that you need to have on your radar this year:
1. Berlin, Germany
The Berlin City Tax came into force on January 1. The rate is 5 per cent of the room rate (net price), excluding VAT and fees for amenities and services such as mini-bar, sauna or spa area. The tax applies to leisure travellers; business travellers are exempt (but they’ll need to prove the business purpose of their trip).
The City Tax is collected by the accommodation providers and added to the hotel bill.
“Accommodation providers” include “hotels, guest houses, private landlords, independent hostels, youth hostels and campsites”.
2. Dresden, Germany
On February 1, Dresden’s Kurtaxe came into effect. It’s €1.30 (£1.06) per day on all visitors 18 and above staying overnight in a city hotel.
Morocco is planning to introduce a departure tax from April 1. On Economy-Class tickets the tax will be about £7 (100 dirhams) and for First-Class flights about £29 (400 dirhams).
On a positive note, Morocco now has a VAT-reclaim service. Visitors can get a VAT refund on goods bought during their stay by presenting their passports. Read all about it.
The Independent reported recently that, since the start of the year, the cost of bus fares, hire cars and domestic flights have risen by 16 per cent, while hotel bills in tourist areas such as the Mayan riviera and Baja California are up by 4.5 per cent.
It’s not levied yet, but the Thailand Tourism Authority is said to be considering a tourist tax. If the plan comes to fruition there’ll be a fee of 500 baht (around £10) when you land (if you’re staying more than three days). If you make a crossing at a land border, the tax is a paltry 30 baht (a mere £0.60 or so).
6. Dubai, United Arab Emirates
The Dubai government will levy a tourist tax on all holiday accommodation from next month. The “Tourism Dirham” will be charged on stays in hotels, apartments, guesthouses and holiday homes.
The tax will range from Dh7 (£1.20) to Dh20 (£3.30) per room per night, depending on the hotel category and rating.
7. The United Kingdom
Air Passenger Duty, a tax on flights departing from UK airports, is continuing its seemingly inexorable rise. In April it’ll rise again.
Short-haul flights will still be taxed at £13 per flight so a family of four bound for the beaches of the Algarve will pay £52 in taxes. That rate hasn’t changed over the past couple of years.
On long-haul flights it’s a different story. A family of four going on holiday to Egypt, the USA or Canada will pay £276 in APD (£8 more than last year) and going on an once-in-a-lifetime trip to Australia would cost Mum and Dad and two littles a budget-crunching £388 (£12 more than last year).
Find out how you can avoid paying the higher rates of APD. Tips include playing the bands and flying from an airport that doesn’t levy a departure tax. Amsterdam Schiphol doesn’t. Nor do airports in the Republic of Ireland (their €3 tax will be abolished in April).
(Featured image: kenteegardin)