Iceland tourists to face tax price hike | Inquirer Lifestyle
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An amphibious vehicle carrying tourists passes blue icebergs in Jokulsarlon, the largest glacier lagoon in Iceland, on July 8, 2014. AFP FILE PHOTO

Iceland tourists to face tax price hike

An amphibious vehicle carrying tourists passes blue icebergs in Jokulsarlon, the largest glacier lagoon in Iceland, on July 8, 2014.  AFP FILE PHOTO
An amphibious vehicle carrying tourists passes blue icebergs in Jokulsarlon, the largest glacier lagoon in Iceland, on July 8, 2014. AFP FILE PHOTO

 

Tourists keen to explore Iceland’s natural beauty will have to pay more from next year, after Reykjavik announced a tax hike Friday on the sector, which has exploded in recent years.

The island nation announced the end of an 11 percent reduced rate of value-added sales tax, saying it will make a typical holiday there about 4 percent more expensive.

Tax on hotels, campsites, travel agents’ services, pools and spas and such like will rise to the regular rate, which was itself reduced to 22.5 percent.

The government said the reduced rate was no longer justified since tourism in Iceland, which was badly hit by the 2008 global economic near-meltdown, has exploded seven-fold in the last seven years.

Some 1.77 million visitors came last year, with 2.2-2.3 million expected to make the trip in 2017.

“Most types of tourism will be classified under the general value-added tax bracket,” said the finance ministry, announcing the end or the lower rate from July 1, 2018.

Reykjavik estimates the move will reduce tourist numbers by 1 or 2 percent, saying that cost was not the decisive factor for visitors to the country.

According to an opinion poll last year by the national tourism office, 83 percent of visitors cited Iceland’s natural beauty as a reason they chose to come, against only 19 percent who said low prices were a factor.