Cheapest Destinations Blog is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

New Tourist Fees and Visa Changes for International Travel

Before you take off traveling abroad this year and next, you may need to add a little to your budget for tourist fees and extra taxes.

After the most popular travel destinations got a much-needed break from the crowds in 2020 and 2021, the past two years have seen tourism numbers return to their peak levels or even pass them in much of Europe. The greatest hits of travel are super busy once again. Some destinations broke new records last year and it’s looking like the current year could be just as strong. As a result, many destinations are adding new tourist fees.

biking Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro

So far this has not become a worldwide trend and a few destinations have become more welcoming instead of pushing people away. Costa Rica lengthened their tourist visa stay limit to 180 days and Turkey eliminated their visa fee for Americans. So that you don’t get any nasty surprises when you take off to other places, however, be aware of these new traveler fees and visa cost increases you’ll face.

Some are meant to fund new tech initiatives, such as biometric documents, while some are clearly meant to slow down tourism growth in a specific location. Others are being pitched as ways to offset the increased strain on infrastructure and the environment that mass tourism brings.

New Europe Visa Fees: ETIAS and EES

If you’re thinking of heading to Europe, a few more euros to enter probably won’t dissuade you from coming. That’s the thinking in the EU, where most travelers are going to pay more money to enter the continent soon.

There are two similar systems that the EU is implementing now to increase security, make entry systems faster, and let’s be honest: track your comings and goings in a shared database. There’s no escaping the new world order if you want to visit the USA or Europe now.

The EES is an internal system change for all foreign nationals entering the continent, while the ETIAS is a fee for those who are visa exempt. We’re exempt from needing a visa, but not exempt from paying to enter: at some point in 2024 you’ll pay an extra €7 per person and you have to apply for and obtain this ETIAS confirmation in advance. It should be quick and painless once it officially starts.

Also note that two countries joined the Schengen Zone this year: Romania and Bulgaria. This doesn’t impact your costs (and those are both great travel bargains), but it does cut down the options of countries you can escape to in order to spend more than 90 days out of 180 in Europe. The dwindling list of what’s left in Europe proper is mostly the UK, a few countries in the Balkans, and European Turkey.

Tourist Fees in Overcrowded Cities

Greek Parthenon wonder of the world in Athens

In addition to this continent-wide fee hitting travelers this year, you’ll also pay more to join the sheep all heading to the same cities struggling with overtourism. My advice would be to pick one of the other thousand cool places you could go to in Europe, but if you insist on following the biggest crowds and their packed tour buses and cruise ships, here’s where you’ll have to open your wallet again.

Amsterdam – This city has had it with overtourism and the government there has been trying a series of steps to take their city back, from running ads discouraging rowdy Brits from visiting to imposing an 11-euro tax on cruise ship visitors.

Now they’re imposing a fee that is the highest in Europe. According to the city’s finance chief, Hester van Buren, tourists will pay an average of €22 euros per night in taxes rather than the €15 euros it had previously cost on a room of the average price in the city.

Barcelona – Another poster child for overtourism, Barcelona has struggled with a lack of housing for residents as more apartments get converted to short-term rentals and tk. Last year the city added a nightly tourist tax of €2.75 for more accommodations and this year it goes up to €3.75.

Venice – After banning cruise ships from coming into Venice and still dealing with the massive crowds of day-trippers, the city where it’s hard to find a local resident amidst all the tourists will charge visitors €5 per person if they are not spending the night in the city.

Greece – Mykonos and Santorini are mobbed while other places in Greece are almost empty, like the spooky Mani Peninsula I wrote about last year, but the country is applying a country-wide “climate resilience tax” on top of the regular bed tax. This will only apply in the high season though, from March through October. It applies to all accommodation and will range from 50 euro cents to €10 depending on the accommodation class.

Many other locations are adding an extra tax on cruise ship visitors, who arrive by the thousands but spend most of their money with the ship company. The latest announcement on this front is Quintana Roo in Mexico, home of Cancun and Cozumel. Others include New York City, Scotland, and the Virgin Islands.

A More Expensive Brazilian Visa

beach in Brazil

If you’re from the USA, Canada, or Australia, it’s going to cost you more money to visit Brazil now. Quite a bit more if you’re American: $160 per person. If you’re a family of 4, that means you’re out of pocket $640 before you even step outside of the airport in Rio or Sao Paulo.

Fortunately, the Brazilian Real has lost a lot of its value against other currencies in the past few years and I recently tagged it as one of the destinations on sale this year. Since all the other South American countries except Bolivia have dropped this “reciprocal visa fee” though (and seen their tourism spike as a result), Brazil’s struggling tourism sector is not happy about going back to being less competitive again compared to their neighbors.

This is an especially tough pill to swallow if you just want to cross the border to see Iguazu Falls from the Brazil side and not just from visa-free Argentina. The government has pushed back implementation of this fee several times, but as I write this it is scheduled to go live on April 10, 2024.

A Tourist Tax in Bali

paying more to visit Bali

In a program that will supposedly collect money from tourists to make up for all the ill effects they create, Bali, Indonesia is reaching into visitors’ wallets for more. As of this month, any tourists coming to Bali to visit or live their yoga life dream will need to pay an extra US$9.60 (12.90 Canadian) to immigration officials upon arrival. There is no exemption for children.

The amount is in rupiah, at 150,000, so it could go up if the currency gains strength. It doesn’t matter how you arrive as you will pay whether you come by ferry, cruise ship, or airplane.

Bali says the taxes will go towards “protecting the nature of Bali,” which sounds quite vague, but the government has claimed that some of it will be used for supporting sustainable tourism (badly needed), increased cleanliness (badly needed), and to “build quality public transportation facilities and infrastructure” (badly needed).

This seems like a double- or triple-grab since tourists are already paying hotel bed taxes, airport taxes, transportation surcharges, and other fees that go to the government, but perhaps they’ve been so bad at managing those that they need to create another fund that can’t be siphoned off as easily.

This only applies to Bali, not the many other Indonesian islands that are less overcrowded with tourists, such as Lombok, Sulawesi, Java, and Sumatra for starters.

Galapagos Park Fee Doubles in Price

Galapagos Islands splurge

For most nationalities, the entry fee for the Galapagos will go from $100 to $200 this August. (Residents of Argentina, Brazil, and Peru will pay $100 instead of $50.) As with the attempts to battle overtourism in some of the cities mentioned earlier, this is a strategy to keep visitor numbers in check and increase the budget for enforcement and environmental care. 

All visitors to the islands will need to pay this and it’s usually not included in your tour package: you pay it separately to the park authority. This is another reason why “doing the Galapagos on a budget” is an oxymoron and really a bad idea in general. Save this trip for when you’ve got a vacation budget to work with, not a backpacker budget. It’s a long flight to get out there and then you really need to be on a boat for a few days to go beyond the closest spots to the population centers. 

Higher Tourist Fees for Faster Checkpoints

tourist fees for faster security lines

It’s important to note that while these tourism fees may be annoying, the additional funds are earmarked for specific projects meant to make travel more pleasant for those who leave home. Systems like the European Entry/Exit System (EES) and the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) leverage biometric technologies to enhance security without compromising efficiency. If you’ve ever moved through a Global Entry line just by showing your face and getting a confirmation notice, you know how much faster this can work than the traditional system, creepy as it may be.

Biometric solutions, including facial recognition and fingerprint scanning, expedite the immigration process, reducing wait times and enhancing the overall travel experience.

One IATA survey showed that three-fourths of travelers would prefer to use biometric data instead of passports and boarding passes. Data breaches and data sharing remain a top concern, but more transparency on how long data can be stored and how it can be deleted will improve user confidence.

We will also probably see some countries follow Denmark’s lead if their proposed legislation goes through. They want to charge the equivalent of $9 to $56 extra on every flight and use the money to move airlines to a carbon-neutral model by 2030. That’s much more aggressive than the U.S. airlines’ lame pledge of getting there by 2050 and they need more funding via tourist fees to make it happen in just 6 years.


Wednesday 13th of March 2024

Mexico has hidden tax also for ages. Just look at the fees in the flight reservation for entering and existing Mexico. The fees are more than $50!

Tim Leffel

Thursday 14th of March 2024

That's not unusual or new though. For Heathrow it's hundreds of dollars (just try booking a "free" frequent flyer flight.) It's the main reason international flights are never super-cheap unless you're flying within Europe or within Southeast Asia.