Tourists to pay

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions

As glimmers of hope arise that international travel might occur later this year it is beginning to look as though tourists will be paying more to help countries recover from the economic fallout of the pandemic.
Pattaya – Jomtien Beach. Image © Tourism Authority of Thailand
Countries have spent fortunes which, to us older people, seem astronomic in comparison to spending over the last thirty years or so.
How will those sums be recouped?
Tourism had been a big earner for many countries before the pandemic and it is beginning to look as though some countries are preparing to use tourism to raise even more funds.
How that money raising activity will be used will be cloaked in phrases like “sustainability development” and “tourist infrastructure improvements.” Whatever it is called, with an expected fast bounce-back seemingly likely what destination would want to miss out on grabbing as much cash as it could?
Thailand, for example, has a proposal to charge $US10 on all arriving passengers which is designed to cover insurance coverage. Claims that uninsured visitors cost medical facilities some $100 million each year help justify the fee which, in fairness, has been discussed for years. Coincidentally, the Thai government is forecasting 10 million visitors this year (in 2019 it was just under forty million) which would raise the £100 million that would cover medical bills. If there were forty million visitors, the government would profit to the tune of £300 million!

St Lucia in the Caribbean introduced a bed tax last December. Guests are charged US$3.00 or US$6.00 per person per night, depending on a room rate below or above US$120.00.  There is a 50% discount for children aged 12 to 17 and no charges are payable for under 12’s. VAT was reduced at the same time from 10%-7% for tourism accommodation making it a little less of a shock for visitors.

The money, the government says, will be spent supporting tourism development. But the money previously allotted to tourism will be spent elsewhere!

The amount charged by St Lucia is still small compared to Barbados. It charges a $US70 departure tax to all those aged two and over which is usually included within the air fare. In addition VAT on tourist services and products doubled last year to 15%.

The Mexican state of Quintana Roo (the state in which the UK’s favourite destination – Cancun – is to be found) is introducing a $US10 tax from April Fools’ Day but it is being honest about it. The Mexican government has said that it will help to pay for the financial impact of the pandemic.

I think travellers can expect to see increased costs as destinations try to work out ways to pay for what the pandemic has cost them.  

If you enjoyed this post, please consider subscribing to the RSS feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader.
Tags: , , , , , ,