Travelers were up in arms last week when Thailand announced plans to introduce a $16 entry tax for passengers arriving by air and staying more than three days – and a charge of 30 baht (97 cents) for travelers coming into the country from a neighboring state and staying for two days or less.
The Thailand Tourism Authority (TTA) claimed the proposed tax is needed to cover the cost of unpaid medical bills left behind by foreign travelers – although other reports mentioned the tax has been levied in the hope of attracting a 'better' standard of visitor, compared, presumably, to the young backpackers drawn to the country's affordable beach destinations and buzzing nightlife.
In a statement to the press, World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) President & CEO, David Scowsill called the proposed tax “one of the more egregious tourism taxes that we have seen".
Of course, Thailand is not the only country to charge visitors a fee for arriving or departing the country. While many countries include their entry or exit taxes in the price of an airline ticket (Thailand, Ecuador, and the Dominican Republic, to name just three examples), a stubborn few still do not allow this. In the interest of you not getting caught off-guard at the airport without the means to cover an unexpected tax, here are a few entry and exit fees worth knowing about:
Before departing from Costa Rica, you are required to pay an exit tax of $29. You pay it (in either U.S. Dollars or Colones) at a special counter at the airport. Credit cards are accepted, but are treated as a cash advance and so you'll be charged an additional $10 for using one.
According to the Manila International Airport Authority, international travelers leaving Manila are required to pay an Airport Users’ Charge of P750.00 ($17.40). Domestic travelers will pay a Passenger Terminal Fee at P200.00 ($4.70). The collection booths are situated at the entrances to the pre-departure hall.
You'll need to pay a departure tax when flying out of Denpasar International Airport. The Rp 150,000 ($15) for international departures and Rp 40,000 ($4) for domestic departures must be paid in cash in Indonesian Rupiah only.
The $10 departure tax for flying out of Zanzibar's Abeid Amani Karume International Airport is now almost always included in the airline fee, but we continue to hear reports of unscrupulous airport staff trying to get travelers to pay it a second time. Check your flight ticket to show it has already been covered.
Tioman Island, Malaysia
Whether arriving by plane or ferry on Tioman Island, named one of the "most beautiful islands in the world," by Time, you'll need to pay a RM5 ($1.60) marine park entrance fee - the island is part of a protected marine park.
Know of any more tourist taxes? Let us know in the comments.