The Nordic country of Iceland plans to add a new tax for tourists that will support climate and sustainability goals.
“Tourism has really grown exponentially in Iceland in the last decade, and that obviously is not just creating effects on the climate,” Katrín Jakobsdóttir, Iceland’s prime minister, told reporters.
After the COVID-19 lockdowns, Iceland experienced a dramatic resurgence in tourism, with over 8.5 million visitors in 2022.
The tax would “not be high,” Jakobsdóttir said, and it would be administered like municipal taxes on visitors to Iceland, although no details were given on the price.
Jakobsdóttir added that her administration is working closely with travel agencies across the country to implement environmentally friendly measures, such as switching to electric vehicles.
Many places around the world already have tourism taxes to encourage community investment. However, tourism taxes that promote sustainability initiatives are gaining momentum around the world. In Bali, for example, tourists will have to pay a new $10 tourism tax starting in 2024 to support conservation efforts.
Overall, the travel industry has made more efforts to become more environmentally friendly and sustainable. For example, United Airlines has declared a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 100% by 2050, and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey this week unveiled a plan and roadmap to achieve net-zero emissions by the same year.