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Should tourists pay for the impact they have on a destination?

It’s a challenge faced by popular destinations all over the world: How do you cope with a growing tourism industry?

While authorities in Barcelona and Venice are desperately trying to manage disgruntled residents, New Zealand’s government is taking a proactive approach.

It’s hard to dispute tourists should in some way pay for the footprint they leave. With more people travelling, we’re inevitably affecting the environments we visit, so something must be done to redress the balance.

Milford Sound (Thinkstock/PA)

Milford Sound

Although there are many positives to be gained from introducing a tax in New Zealand, it might not be the answer for every destination.

“There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to the problem of overtourism.” warns Justin Francis, CEO Responsible Travel. “It depends greatly on the area, infrastructure and particular pain points for locals. Cities such as Madrid and Berlin are limiting short-term holiday rental periods in an attempt to retain neighbourhoods, while others are looking at how to cut down on disruption by banning Segway tours and capping visitor numbers at big attractions.

“A tourist tax might be one possible solution to overtourism, and it could help to reduce demand. But it would be great to see any money raised going to fund projects that directly benefit the communities affected by the issue in the first place.”

What do you think? Should tourists pay for the impact they leave on a destination? Or should travel be open to all? 

Should tourists pay for the impact they have on a destination?

845 people have already voted, what's your opinion? Yes No

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David46
14th Aug 2018
0
Thanks for voting!
The amount charged is usually small, perhaps too small to be of any use to the environment and only serving as an irritant for the traveller. Without tourists many places would struggle financially. If it is essential to collect the money it might be less irritating to tax hotels and they could adjust their prices accordingly.
ginntonic
10th Aug 2018
0
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I find I am paying environmental tax in more countries I visit. Some on arrival at the hotel and others at the departure gate. The amount varies in different places. This year it was $50 in Mexico, $20 in Dominican Republic. I have also paid a daily rate to stay in the Canary Islands and 10 euros to leave Ireland at Knock airport.
Maybe our Government should start charging visitors at our airports. It would generate £millions that could be spent on the environment here.
dementedgranma
20th Jul 2018
2
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If you make tourists pay, they will stop coming and that would have a impact on the countries economy. Many countries rely on tourism and they already spend vast amounts whilst in that country
VeraS
17th Jul 2018
3
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Surely the money tourists spend while on holiday is enough. Also a lot of tourist spots put up prices as soon as season starts
Billythequiche
17th Jul 2018
-3
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A small charge on holiday bookings would be a good idea if:
The money only goes to helping local projects to minimise effects of tourism,
A committee of local interested parties separate from councils and political parties (perhaps local retirees) to oversee things,
NO profit to be made by anyone,
Tax exemption from HMRC.
Pamratty
12th Jul 2018
4
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I think this is a very controversial issue, but yes we need to pay for seeing some of the wonderful places this world of our's has to offer. We get cheaper deals on flights to get there and if the wondrous sights are being adversely affected then we have a responsibility to help preserve them for future generations to enjoy.
Alicia
8th Jul 2018
2
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Yes, residents in the West Country pay very high water rates due to beach cleaning, etc. The tourists should pay for that as they are using it all year round.
Lionel
8th Jul 2018
2
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I agree Alicia. I'm in North Suffolk, not a great tourist spot but at this time year we get just hoardes of cyclists pouring through the village at speed. And aren't they rude and uncouth.

When each hoarde has passed through we end up clearing rubbish from our street and gardens. We pay extra on the rates to keep this part of Suffolk clean, all the while lycra louts trash their rubbish here.

About this, I'm not a happy bunny.
[deleted]
9th Jul 2018
3
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Lionel
12th Jul 2018
3
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Very sadly Jorid, you quite correct. We have become a dirty people, careless of our personal habits, morality and the country in which we live.

Just over 20 years ago a family whom I knew in the Czech Rpublic sent their younger daughter over here to au pair for two years. For a while she was in my care, shoeing her London etc.,

One of her fist comments on West London was it was so dirty, so littered with rubbish. She boasted about her country which I visited again a couple of years later.

The small market town in the east of Czech her family lived in was utterly pristine. No litter, no spitting on the pavements or chewing gum stuck to one's shoes.

How have the might fallen!
VeraS
17th Jul 2018
2
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I agree Lionel London is filthy
Lionel
17th Jul 2018
2
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Vera, it's not just London. I now live in N. Suffolk. The nearest town is several miles away. It houses about 1500 people. An old market town, now littered with food cartons, drink containers; it's not unusual to walk past used ... well, we don't need to be too explicit.

A few weeks ago I was in Lowestoft, a fishing town on the East Coast. Used to be fairly pleasant. But I saw syringes on the pavement ... well, I'll leave the rest to your imagination.

We have become a dirty nation, and we're drowning in our own filth.
red kay
7th Jul 2018
3
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i don't mid paying in foreign countries as long as tourists also pay to come here
Pwilly
6th Jul 2018
4
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I live on Dartmoor and West Devon Council have been considering this for some time. I can't see how they would do it. Unless at each cattle grid there were barriers. The countryside belongs to everyone, people just need to know how to use these areas. There are no rubbish bins on the moor. so just take your rubbish home. It's not rocket science.
Wilf
6th Jul 2018
3
Thanks for voting!
Travel should be open to all but I suppose there are places that are getting so busy with tourists they are ruined. I am thinking of beautiful natural places like you have on the photo here of New Zealand. lets try and keep some parts of the world pristine. places like Barcelona, London, Paris etc are ok as tourists spend money there which helps the local economy.
Wrinkly One
6th Jul 2018
1
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It’s about time the U.K. had a tourist tax to keep in line with so many other countries. It’s nothing more than a fund raiser for a lot of places. We have just been to Brittany and had to pay for the privilege- I don’t think so! And, while I am having a rant, why don’t we charge for our museums as other countries do, at extortionate prices. If we brought in I.D. Cards local people would not have to pay but that’s another can of worms to open....
viking
10th Jul 2018
1
Thanks for voting!
Unfortunately in this country a tourist tax would not be ring fenced to help clean ups etc.etc. It would be syphoned off for so called "new inititives"
Just look at what happens to road tax,it is used to plug gaps in the economy caused by ..............??
VeraS
17th Jul 2018
0
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Because government has now called it car tax so it gets grouped amongst other taxes and cannot be used just for roads
Bethmac
6th Jul 2018
3
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We already support the countries we visit simply by going there,spending our money
Wilf
6th Jul 2018
1
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I agree and for many countries this is a good thing as it helps local employment in the tourist industry. Countries in Africa for example its a great help.
Margaret Hart
6th Jul 2018
1
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Are we to go back to being the sort of world where nobody travelled from one country to another as it was before people could afford to travel or should we be encouraging a world where everybody is welcome everywhere. I prefer the welcoming idea and a world wher there is a chance to treat each each other as equals. Obviously we must still carry insurance to cover any health concerns or accidents as we can’t expect another country to take all responsibility for our actions.

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