September 20, 2021

Europeans Criticize New U.S. Tourism Tax

Tourism Tax Unpopular with International Travelers

Tourism Tax Unpopular with International Travelers

Legislators in Europe have become critical of the United States for adding a $14 entry fee on international travelers, increasing the likelihood of retaliatory levies on American visitors to the European Union.

The controversial tax was introduced by the U.S. in September. It affects visitors from 36 countries — including Western European nations, Australia and Japan — who are not required to obtain a visa to enter the U.S. The fees will fund the promotion of tourism under a law promoted by travel related companies such as Walt Disney, Marriott, and American Express.

Potential travelers are notified of the fee when they preregister online to travel to the U.S. for a period of up to 90 days without a visa. The tax is due only once over a two-year period.

The U.S. tourism industry is hoping that the charge will help compensate for a 2.4 million traveler drop in visitors from abroad in 2009. President Obama signed the new law in March to implement the fee, which the tourism industry had lobbied for since 2007.

The travel-promotion portion of the fee is $10, while the Department of Homeland Security is collection $4 for processing applications. Visitors must register, and pay, prior to entry to the U.S. through the government’s “Electronic System for Travel Authorization”. The law will expire on September 30, 2015.

The European Commission, the regulatory body responsible for administering the EU’s visa policy and for proposing regulations, kept open the possibility of introducing a similar fee for U.S. visitors traveling to Europe.