American cities take the first three spots.
The tiny Asian country of Bhutan—that has been closed off for more than two years—recently announced a hike in its tourist tax. When the borders open this month, tourists will have to pay $200 per person per day, a huge increase from the $65 it used to charge earlier.
Tourist taxes are becoming the norm around the world, and cities like London are thinking about introducing them. Many destinations are also upping the dollars to avoid overtourism and help the economy recover after the pandemic. Travelers pay the taxes in multiple ways: as occupancy/stay charge in the U.S. and Europe when you book hotels ( a flat fee or a percent of the hotel charge), the sayonara tax in Japan when you leave, and entry fee in Venice (which will be implemented in 2023).
A new study by money.co.uk has analyzed tourist taxes around the world and came up with this list of cities that charge the most. It turns out that three cities in the U.S. take the top three spots, with Honolulu coming first with a hefty tax.
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The Hawaiian city of Honolulu has the highest tourist tax in the world. It charges a transient accommodation tax (TAT) of 10.25% and now a 3% hotel tax surcharge has been added on top of it. When you’re planning a trip, set aside a budget for this tax, which can go up to $50 per night as the average cost of a room is $390 per night.
The second most expensive city for tourists when it comes to tourist tax is San Francisco. The city of fog charges a 14% Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) on accommodations for stays under 30 days. For a seven night stay, with an average tax of $29.61 per night, you will pay $207.29 per room.
The city of Angels isn’t exactly cheap for visitors either. Los Angeles is another Californian city that completes this trifecta of the most expensive cities in the U.S. and the world when it comes to tourist taxes. Visitors pay TOT of 12% per night on stays, which means an average of $164.40 for a seven-night stay.
WHERE: The Netherlands
The highest tourist tax in Europe is levied by Amsterdam. Visitors pay 7-10% toeristenbelasting (tourist tax) on stays in hotels and bed-and-breakfasts, and the city has started charging a €3 ($2.8) fee on top of it from 2020. So, a weeklong vacation in the Dutch city will cost you $78.58 per person in tourist taxes.
Number five on the list is another American city. A major theme park destination, Orlando has a 6% sales and resort tax, which comes up to $81.18 for a seven-night stay. Take this tax into account when you’re budgeting for your amusement park adventures.
The Mexican state of Quintana Roo charges travelers a flat fee of $10.99 to enter. This is the highest in the world—Japan, for instance, charges $9. This was introduced in 2021 and is applicable for all visitors 4 years and older (travelers from Belize get a 10% discount).
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Playa del Carmen
The tourist tax of $10.99 is a new development for all foreign visitors traveling to Quintana Roo. If you’re visiting destinations like Cancun, Tulum, and Playa del Carmen, you can pay this amount online before you arrive or when you land, or pay cash at the airport before you leave the country.
The fifth American destination on the list with a high tourist tax is the coastal haven of Miami. According to the study, the city has a $12.59 per night tax, which adds up quite a bit when you stay there for seven nights ($88.13).
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The only Middle-Eastern destination on the list is Muscat, which has a nightly tax of $9.38. A week in the city can cost you an extra $88 in taxes, something that should factor in your budget when you’re thinking about visiting the souks and the majestic Hajar mountains.
Thai cities occupy the 10th spot on this list. Thailand’s tourist fee of 300 baht ($8.36) has been getting delayed, but it is expected to be implemented in 2023.