Dubai slaps tourist tax on hotel stays

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Travel to Dubai is going to get more expensive: the government has announced it is introducing a new tourist tax on hotel stays in March - to help pay for Expo 2020 projects.

It will take the form of a 'hospitality fee' added when you stay in any hotel, apartment, guest house or holiday home. The National Newspaper reported that the tax will be payable per room, per night, but would depend on the type of hotel accommodation you are staying in. It will range from 7 Dirhams a night (£1.20) to 20 Dirhams (£3.35).

Travellers would be forgiven for thinking they are raising enough tax revenue for the Emirate. Most hotels charge a 20% tax on stays as it is: which is made up of a 10% municipality fee and a 10% service charge.

Dubai isn't known as being a bargain destination either. The Post Office annual survey of the cost of popular destinations in 2013 listed it at number 37 of 42. It found that a cup of coffee costs £3.75, a glass of wine £5.62 and a can of coke £2.25.

But the costs haven't dented our enthusiasm for the all-year sun destination. Dubai was recently named as the top hotspot for 2014, thanks to the expanding air routes making flights cheaper and more accessible, and the opening of the world's biggest airport last year.

And it's not the only place to have introduced a tourist tax.
  • Much of the USA has a punishing tourist tax. Chicago, New York, Las Vegas and Hawaii are amongst the highest.
  • Some cities in Italy have a tourist tax on hotel stays - set by the city government. These include Bologna, Florence, Milan, Pisa, Rome, Sorrento and Venice.
  • In 2011 the Maldives started charging a 3.5% tax on accommodation, transport, food, drink and excursions.
  • Catalonia - home to Barcelona and the Costa Brava - has a tourist tax on anywhere that guests stay overnight, from hotels to cruise ships. It ranges from 0.45 euros per person per night to 2.25 euros per person per night.
  • Some councils in the UK have debated the possibility too - including Edinburgh and York - although none have yet taken the plunge.