The number of tourists visiting Iceland is several times higher than the number of inhabitants of the island. The authorities came to the conclusion that this had a negative impact on the natural environment, which is the greatest asset of this small country. Hence the proposal to collect tourist tax.
It might seem that every city, region or country enjoys great interest from tourists. It’s all about proportions: when the number of tourists exceeds the number of inhabitants, the situation becomes problematic. Mass tourist traffic affects nature (tourists literally trample on particularly attractive places), and what is more, the infrastructure created for a certain number of inhabitants “wears out” faster.
For example, tourists use more water than permanent residents. It is estimated that during holidays, Europeans pour 400 liters of water a day, while at home – about 150. This is due to the fact that when they are away they feel more at ease and know that they do not have to pay the water bill, because the costs of all services are included in the pre-agreed fee for renting a room or apartment.
Iceland wants to charge a tourist tax
Iceland fell victim to its own popularity. To an island where 400,000 people live permanently. people, approximately 2 million tourists come annually. Iceland’s Prime Minister said it’s time to take steps to reduce tourist traffic – or make tourists contribute more to maintaining the island, which a few years ago announced a plan to become carbon neutral by 2040. Hence the proposal to introduce a new tax that will burden tourists.
Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir recalled that since 2017, her government has taken a number of actions aimed at protecting the environment and climate. Iceland uses geothermal heat for heating and electricity, improves energy efficiency and works on carbon dioxide capture. According to politicians, however, this is not enough, which justifies the need to introduce additional taxation.
Krakow also wants to charge tourists an additional fee
There are many indications that visitors to Krakow will soon have to come to terms with additional fees. It is the most popular tourist destination in Poland: in 2019, the former capital of Poland was visited by as many as 14 million inhabitants. During the pandemic, tourist traffic necessarily decreased, but in 2021, 11 million tourists visited there. 6.1 million are domestic tourists who came only for one day.
The Krakow authorities want to collect the so-called climate tax. The legal machinery has already started. According to Krakow’s “Gazeta Wyborcza”, a change in regulations could help in collecting fees from tourists, which would allow the introduction of a tourist fee and collection of fees even in places with polluted air. Kraków sent a proposal to amend the regulations on taxes and local fees to the government in 2017. It is still on the desk at the Ministry of Finance.
The green light is given by Andrzej Gut-Mostowy, the minister responsible for tourism from Podhale.
– Politicians at all levels speak positively about the idea of introducing a tourist fee. I hope that the government will deal with this before the elections and that local governments will be able to collect fees from visitors this term. It would be a solid injection of cash, even tens of millions of zlotys, said councilor Małgorzata Jantos in an interview with “GW”.