Iceland to re-introduce tourist tax

Over-tourism is a new emerging trend.
Edited by Travel Weekly


    Following in the likes of Venice and Bhutan, travellers heading up north may soon have to fork over a bit of cash.

    The Prime Minister of Iceland, Katrin Jakobsdottir, announced that higher taxes aimed at tourists will be implemented to help protect its environment.

    “Tourism has really grown exponentially in Iceland in the last decade, and that obviously is not just creating effects on the climate,” Jakobsdottir said.

    “It’s also because most of our guests who are coming to us are visiting the unspoiled nature, and obviously it creates a pressure.”

    A spokesperson for Iceland’s Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs said that this tax is a broader continuation of a previous accommodation tax the Nordic nation suspended during the pandemic.

    A small volcanic eruption started at the Reykjanes peninsula (iStock/Thorir Ingvarsson)

    “It is intended to expand taxation to cover passengers on cruise ships alongside hotels, recognizing the impact on our seas as well as land,” the spokesperson said to USA Today, adding that this policy will come into effect in 2024 and further details, such as the amounts, will be released in the coming weeks.

    Iceland’s environmentally focused fee hike comers as the country strives to become carbon neutral before 2040. The country’s natural hot springs and black sand beaches are very popular among travellers, bringing in more than 1.7 million international overnight tourists in 2022, according to the Icelandic Tourist Board.

    “A lot of our companies who are working in the tourism sector are finding ways to really turn over to circular economy, turn over to electric cars, et cetera,” Jakobsdottir added. “So, that change is happening, but it is a challenge.”

    Iceland isn’t the only spot on the map looking to charge a tourist tax. Travellers making their way to the gorgeous lagoon city of Venice will soon have to fork over $8 for peak season, while Bali will introduce a $15 tourist tax next year.

    (Featured Image: Skogafoss waterfall in South Iceland – iStock/amedved)

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