Tourists heading to two popular beach destinations next year will face increased expenses. Greece and Tunisia have introduced bills proposing a higher accommodation tax. Meanwhile, in the Spanish region of Valencia, they’re bucking the trend.
In Tunisia, Tourist Tax to Triple
The Tunisian government has put forth a budget proposal for 2024, including an increase in several taxes related to tourism. Notably, there are plans to raise the tourist tax, applicable since 2018 for overnight stays in tourist accommodations like hotels, apartments, campsites, and villas.
The proposal suggests, for instance, an increase from 3 to 12 dinars (from 0.89 to 3.55 euros) per person per night in four- and five-star hotels, and from 2 to 8 dinars (from 0.59 to 2.37 euros) in three-star hotels.
These plans have stirred discontent and concern in Tunisia’s tourism industry, fearing a loss of competitiveness compared to neighboring countries. The Tunisian Federation of Travel Agencies (FTAV) believes that due to the increase in the tourist tax, Tunisia may lose a share of family tourists in the summer of 2023.
In Greece, €10 Tax for a Night
Tax reforms in tourism are also expected in Greece. The government is attempting to regulate the rapidly growing short-term rental market with a bill aimed at combating tax evasion.
The proposed bill, set for January 2024, introduces new rules for determining the duration and taxation method of renting accommodation to tourists.
Among other things, the bill replaces the current stay tax (introduced in 2018) with a “climate crisis resilience fee.” Behind this new formulation hides the tourist tax for staying in hotels, rented rooms, tourist villas, short-term rentals, and tourist villas.
However, while the current accommodation tax rate in Greece is fixed and not dependent on the season, from 2024, the government aims to make it variable.
During the period from March to October, the tax rate for an overnight stay in a 1-2-star hotel will be 1.5 euros, in a 3-star hotel – 3 euros, in a 4-star hotel – 7 euros, and in a 5-star hotel – 10 euros per person. For furnished rooms and apartments for rent, a fee of 1.5 euros per night will be collected from tourists.
From November to February, the rates will remain at the current level. Tourists currently pay 0.50 euros for a night in a 1-2-star hotel, 1.50 euros in a 3-star hotel, 3 euros in a 4-star hotel, and 4 euros in a 5-star hotel. For furnished rented rooms and apartments, the amount is set at 0.50 euros.
The Greek government’s tax initiative has already faced criticism from local hoteliers, who, like in Tunisia, fear losing tourists. Therefore, the Greek Hotel Chamber suggests implementing the resilience fee only during periods of high demand to support the competitiveness of the Greek product.
Valencia Cancels Tourist Tax
However, there is good news. The Valencia government has approved the cancellation of the tourist tax in the region, which was supposed to take effect on December 1. They intended to collect 0.5 to 2 euros per day for overnight stays in hotels and other registered accommodation.
However, Valencia hoteliers managed to convince authorities to abandon this initiative. The local hotel federation stated that the new tax would have been an incentive for tourists to flee to the shadow sector, where “no taxes are paid, no jobs are created, and work is not oriented towards quality or modernity.”