Many places around the world charge an additional “tourist tax” upon the normal accommodation-cost. The tourist tax is not always included in the advertised price. This often leads to confusion and raises many questions: What exactly is this tourist tax? How do I know if it’s legit? How much does it cost?
What exactly is “Tourist Tax”:
The financial budget of every city and municipality is largely depending on the amount of inhabitants. They all pay taxes for communal facilities and services. Tourism is a great way to stimulate the local economy, but it also has a large cost for extra facilities and services that are needed. In order to develop a sustainable environment where locals and tourist can share the same space, tourist can be charged for the extra costs they bring to the community.
How does Tourist Tax in Belgium work?
Charging tourist taxes at the border is too impracticable and because it’s impossible to let tourists buy an “entry ticket” at the city-gates, the government had to come up with a better solution. Therefore your accommodation will charge tourist taxes if they apply.
In Belgium every city, town and municipality is free to charge their own tourist tax for all non-inhabitants. This means even Belgians have to pay an additional tax if they are residing in a place different then their home. Isn’t that fair?
How much does the Tourist Tax in Belgium costs?
Every city, town and municipality is free to charge their own prices. This can be either a fixed price or a percentage of the price per night you pay for your accommodation.
Accommodation owners are free to either include the tourist taxes into their advertised prices or charge them separately. When booking an accommodation online, always make sure to check if the tourist tax is included, or has to be paid upon arrival separately.
The tourist tax in Brussels, Bruges, Ghent and Antwerp costs approximately 2 – 3 € per night, per person.
I’ve just been charged €11 tourist tax at the Sheraton Hotel, Brussels Airport. Extortionist rate!
Is there an exemption for locals who stay in a hotel in Brussels? For example, there was a very loud party in a block of flats, and the police were seemingly unwilling to properly intervene. I booked into a hotel down the road to sleep for that night, because I had a job interview the next day.
Every Belgian municipality has it’s freedom to imply their own “Tourist Tax” with their own rules. The Brussels region counts several municipalities which can have different fees and rules. In the rare occasion that someone books an accommodation in the same municipality they live in, it could be worth mentioning that you’re a registered inhabitant and already pay city taxes. However there’s a large chance the tourist tax is applicable for everybody who books an accommodation, with no exceptions.