Posted January 14th, 2019
How Will New Day-Tripper Taxes Affect Cruising?
It’s a sad reality when the very thing that has helped raise a destination’s fortunes becomes a significant factor in its destruction. That might sound like a pithy soundbite, but there is no denying the fact that tourism is both a blessing and a curse to many popular places around the world. As the crowds (and financial rewards) pour in and worldwide recognition spikes, a point is often reached where the balance tips and the very presence of large groups of tourists becomes detrimental to that city’s beauty and the experience it can offer.
This is the case in Amsterdam, which recently introduced a so-called ‘day-tripper’ tax to all travellers over the age of three who arrive via cruise ship. The tax of €8 per day was initiated at the start of the New Year and will be incurred by all those who are not residents of the Netherlands capital, unless your cruise starts or finishes there. The move is down to “heavy demands on the city and its public spaces” and has already caused two cruise lines to cancel calls into the port for 2019 and 2020.
Both Cruise and Maritime Voyages and MSC Cruises have replaced Amsterdam with Rotterdam on their itineraries, and it remains to be seen whether more operators will follow suit. Holland America Line and P&O Cruises have stated that they have no plans to change anything at the moment.
The home of the Rijksmuseum and the Anne Frank House is not the only city to attempt to control the number of cruise passengers it receives every year. After years of debating whether something similar should be introduced, the Italian city of Venice, an immensely popular cruise destination, has confirmed that a ‘day-tripper’ tax is coming later this year.
Aimed at anyone who arrives in the morning and leaves again at night (which is the vast majority of cruise ship passengers), the tax will generate money to help with the increasingly difficult task of maintaining the city. A massive 24 million people visit Venice every year and, at peak times, rubbish bins have to be emptied once every 30 minutes. A tax of between €2.50 and €10 (depending on what time of year you arrive) is expected to ease the burden and slow the rate at which the city is sinking into the lagoon.
This news comes just over a year after Venice announced it would ban ships over 55,000 tonnes from docking in the city centre by 2021. Could both of these decisions lead to cruise companies avoiding Venice in the same way some have veered away from Amsterdam?
Say Hello To The Sayonara Tax
And it’s not just cities that have are attempting to control tourist numbers by implementing taxes. The entire country of Japan recently started charging a ‘sayonara tax’ for anyone over the age of two who leaves the country via air or sea.
The good news is that this will not affect travellers staying for less than 24 hours, however anyone planning a pre-cruise stay anywhere in Japan or booking a cruise that features an overnight in Tokyo will see the price of their ticket rise by 1,000 Yen (£7.14). It is thought the money raised will go to improving the already impressive public services around the country, such as free Wi-Fi, e-payment systems and international signage.
The Start Of A Trend?
So, could the day-tripper tax be the latest trend to affect cruisers? Other cities and countries may yet decide they should follow in the footsteps of the destinations above. Could future itineraries be dictated by how much passengers have to pay in extra fees? Indeed, some travellers will have already felt the effect of this and many more may do in years to come.
But, whilst an explosion in ‘day-tripper’ taxes may alter routes and increase the price of your cruise by a few pounds, if it ultimately results in destinations being cleaner, less crowded and able to stick around for longer, do we really mind?
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