Tourist tax… Let’s call it something else

Tourist taxes are popping up after 2017’s overtourism woes. Some are designed to reduce low paying tourists, including stag parties in Amsterdam. But other taxes, including the Balearic Islands tourist tax, are designed to raise funds for ecological projects. Travellers may not understand the necessity of these payments. Calling it a tourist tax doesn’t inform travellers and will never be popular. Simply put, nobody likes paying tax! Replacing the term ‘tourist tax’ with ‘tribute’ may soften the blow, here’s how…

New Zealand has just confirmed their ‘tourist tax‘ will be implemented as early as next year. It is designed to raise desperately needed funds to help conserve the environment and build new facilities. This is also part of a plan to attract high-value tourists, seen in Auckland’s new Destination AKL 2025 strategy. To be honest, I don’t think many will be deterred by the $25 levy so, I am not sure how it will attract high-value tourists. Although, I can be sure that calling it a tax will cause some upset even though the DoC has been utterly shrivelled and needs help!

This tax is only a good thing for tourists, let’s make sure they understand its necessity. Stepping away from the term ‘tax’, I believe, would reduce unease. Levys required for environmental and infrastructure purposes will also become more distinguishable.

I propose the term ‘tribute‘ – ‘an act, statement, or gift that is intended to show gratitude, respect, or admiration.’ 

This would increase positive PR and attract attention to conservation efforts. This, in turn, would encourage travellers to feel they have made a positive contribution and specifically for their favourite destinations i.e. ‘kiwi tribute’.

For more responsible tourism updates and ideas follow me on twitter @conservetourism

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