Brits paying an average of over £200 in tourist tax on hotel rooms to some destinations for their summer getaways


  • UK travellers to San Francisco paying on average £204 in tourist tax on hotel rooms
  • Reykjavik tops the European list, at £68 per trip on average
  • Additional departure taxes can cost up to £50 per person – just for leaving a country
  • KAYAK reveals the destinations Brits can visit to avoid the tax


Rome has recently hit the headlines for having the highest fixed hotel room tourist tax in Europe (at up 4-7 Euros a night dependent on grade of accommodation), whilst Venice is also planning on charging visitors up to 10 Euros a day in addition to Italy’s existing tourist tax.

But this could be a bargain according to new research from travel search engine, which reveals that travellers to some destinations will be paying an average of over £200 in ‘tourist tax’ alone for their trip, which is added to the cost of accommodation and varies from destination to destination.

In order to investigate the average amounts, KAYAK has compiled daily tourist tax costs for its most popular 75 destinations – and multiplied it by the average length of stay, to see how much Brits will pay in tourism tax on an average trip to the destination. For destinations which charge it as a percentage of the accommodation cost, KAYAK has used the average accommodation cost in that city to produce the figure.

The research reveals bad news for anyone planning a trip to the US this summer – as it combines both high tax levels and longer trips. It is therefore responsible for all of the top five most expensive global destinations for Brits when it comes to tourist tax.

The destination where Brits on average pay the most is San Francisco, where they will pay £204.96 for the average-length trip. This is based on the tax being 14% of the cost of the room. With the average accommodation costing £183 per night, and the average stay lasting eight nights, this accounts for the whopping cost.

The highest rate of tax belongs to Washington, which imposes 14.5% tax (£132.96), but its cheaper hotel rooms and shorter average stay length means that it doesn’t challenge San Francisco’s top spot and falls short of Los Angeles in second (£168). It is followed by Boston (£114.84) and Orlando (£90.72).


Top five destinations for tourism tax costs:


Destination Tax Average length of stay Average hotel room cost Average overall cost per stay
San Francisco 14% of room 8 nights £183 £204.96
Los Angeles 14% of room 8 nights £150 £168
Washington 14.5% of room 7 nights £131 £132.96
Boston 8.5% of room 7 nights £193 £114.84
Orlando 6% of room 14 nights £108 £90.72


Whilst the USA leads the way when it comes to tourism tax, there are lots of additional international destinations outside of Europe with significant levels of tourism tax added to room costs.

For example, Toronto charges a 4% tax per room which equates to £38.36 for the average stay, whilst Kuala Lumpur tourist tax works out at an average of £35.74 per trip and Hong Kong is £22.80.

In addition, travellers should be aware of a departure tax or visitor tax – a one off fee for visiting the country – that they will have to pay at several destinations. Particularly expensive destinations for this include Mexico, which charges £50/$65 for this, the Philippines which charges £35 (a mixture of Philippine Travel Tax and Airport Terminal Tax) and Singapore which charges £26.64.

For a family of four visiting Mexico, this could add a nasty surprise to the end of the holiday in the form of a £200 bill – as children are charged the same as adults (unless under two years old)

Many European destinations also charge a tax on hotel rooms – and whilst the amounts tend to be smaller overall given the shorter average stays, they can add a significant cost to short European breaks.

Rome’s much publicised tax adds £10.32 to the average trip to Italy’s capital – but many European destinations have far higher costs, with Reykjavik leading the way, coming in at an average of £68.64.



Destination Tax Average length of stay Average hotel room cost Average overall cost per stay
Reykjavik 11% 4 nights £156 £68.64
Amsterdam 7% 2 nights £124 £17.36
Lanzarote £1.72 per night 7 nights £106 £12.04
Rome £3.44 per night 3 nights £91 £10.32
Ibiza £2.59 per night 4 nights £178 £10.36



However, there are some destinations that Brits can visit where they will be able to avoid any tourist tax costs on their accommodation. For example, Israel – which includes the popular destination of Tel Aviv – charges zero VAT on tourism services provided to tourists – which includes accommodation as well as other services.

In addition, Gran Canaria, along with the rest of the Canary Islands charges no tourism tax. It is the same situation in Denmark, which includes the popular destination of Copenhagen, and likewise in Cyprus there is no tax.


John-Lee Saez, Managing Director for KAYAK Europe, comments: “Some Brits will be familiar with the idea of paying a tourist tax on their accommodation when on holiday, but many will be surprised to know that they could be paying such a hefty sum in one trip for this.

“However, there are several destinations, already popular with Brits, such as the Canary Islands and Cyprus where you can avoid a tourist tax altogether, which could really help those on a budget get more out of their money.

“At KAYAK, the prices we display include tax where possible, so our users don’t get caught out with extra costs they may not be expecting. Overall, the main advice to travellers is to check the tax or departure costs for your holiday in order not to get caught out.”



Desktop research conducted between 8-10 May 2019 and is correct at the time of writing. KAYAK has made every effort to ensure the information is as accurate as possible.

Warsaw and Vienna the deal destinations for Brits this Easter

Warsaw and Vienna the deal destinations for Brits this Easter reveals the popular Easter destinations that have fallen in price the most Brits pay around 24% less on return...
Where to find the cheapest hotels and rentals per square metre

Rental or hotel? Where to find the biggest rooms for the lowest prices

KAYAK identifies the European and worldwide destinations where British holidaymakers can save by checking rental prices rather than booking a hotel room.
Flights can be 90% cheaper if you know the right day to go

Flights can be 90% cheaper if you know the right day to go

Finding the right date to fly can help British travellers save up to 90% on flights to popular destinations from the UK. reveals data to help Brits learn how to score the best bargains on flights and hotels in their favourite holiday destinations.
Fantastical See all
One-way car hire for the ultimate road trip

One-way car hire for the ultimate road trip

Read this guide to one-way car hire and start planning – the road trip you’ve been dreaming of for years...
Britain off the beaten track: 17 incredible places you have to see before going overseas

Britain off the beaten track: 17 incredible places you have to see before going overseas

There’s a new travel trend happening in the UK. We are flocking to a new hot destination. But where is...