Iceland Eyeing Tourist Taxes to Keep Tourists Away
March 21, 2017 Taxation in Iceland
In a recent interview the Minister of Tourism of Iceland Thordis Kolbrun Reykfjord Gylfadottir said that the government may soon look at implementing taxes on tourists or tourism businesses.
The tax is aimed at controlling the number of tourists coming to the country, while also raising tax revenues.
Iceland is seeing a surge in tourism in recent years, as in 2010 the country had approximately 459 000 international visitors, while it is estimated that by 2020 the level will rise to as much as 2 million people per year.
The spike in tourist numbers has been attributed to a devaluation of the national currency and a growing interest in the country due to appearances in several popular television shows, including Game of Thrones.
The Ministry of Finance does not yet have a proposal for how the new tax would work, and it is possible that it may be paid by tourists directly, or by taxing tourism operators such as guides or tour buses.
The Minister said that the alternative to the tax is to limit the number of visitors which may visit points of interest around the country, as, currently, some popular areas are simply not equipped to handle the levels of tourism that they have begun to enjoy.