DutchAmsterdam.nl — Despite the economic crisis half the municipalities in the Amsterdam region last year increased their tourist tax fees.
Pleas by the hotel sector to moderate the ‘money grab’ during the crisis have fallen on deaf ears.
Citing research by a hotel booking website, Amsterdam daily Het Parool says the City of Amsterdam has not changed its tourist tax fees during the past two years.
Fees remained unchanged in ten cities, but half of the 36 municipalities in the region increased their tax rates last year.
According to a spokesman for Koninklijke Horeca Nederland, the Dutch trade association for the hotel and catering industry, the charge is only levied in order to balance municipal budgets.
“Tourist tax should be abolished in this time of crisis,” he says, “particularly since in none of these places the money benefits the tourist sector.”
Amsterdam officials counter that the City spends more on promotion of the city than it collects in tourist tax.
Het Parool says that in 2011 the Amsterdam collected about 24 million Euro in fees.
The most important hotel cities in the Netherlands, Amsterdam and nearby Haarlemmermeer — in which Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is located — do not charge set fee. Rather hotels pay a percentage of income from room rentals fees.
In Amsterdam this works out to on average € 4,50, and in Haarlemmermeer € 5,40.
The paper says that hotels in the Schiphol airport district — which have been hit hard by the crisis — have asked their municipality to discontinue of lower the tourist tax fees.
To date Haarlemmermeer has agreed only to temporarily lower the rate. While the municipality takes in 6,5 million Euro in taxes each year, the Schiphol hotels have had to lay off workers.
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