Europe is the most popular tourist destination on the planet. In 2017, there were an estimated 1.3 billion international tourists, with over half of them visiting Europe. The most-popular destination on Earth was France, with almost 90 million tourists in 2017; Spain took second place, with 82 million tourists, and Italy was also popular, with 58 million foreign visitors.
However, is it possible to have too much of a good thing? Tourists can crowd out locals, raise prices, and put extra pressure on the environment. Increasingly, major tourist destinations are introducing “tourist taxes” to deal with overcrowding (and raise a bit of extra revenue). Venice had been due to introduce a new tourist levy ready for summer 2019, but the charge has been delayed pending appeals by airlines, coach companies, and other carriers.
Almost 10% of total employment in the EU comes from the tourism sector. In addition, tourism represents fully 10% of the European Union’s annual GDP, generating €342 billion in 2016. So, tourism is a significant slice of the EU economy. Would a tourism tax away too many people? Or would it be a good way to make tourism more sustainable?
Should more countries introduce a tourist tax? Would it help deal with overcrowding? Or would it just hurt local economies? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!