Kuressaare mayor: Tourism tax would bring €1.5 million annually to Saaremaa ({{commentsTotal}})

A street fair in central Kuressaare attracted local and tourists alike to the island capital.
A street fair in central Kuressaare attracted local and tourists alike to the island capital. Source: (ERR)

Kuressaare mayor Madis Kallas said that a tourism tax would bring €1.5 million annually into the treasury of the island of Saaremaa, regional paper Saarte Hääl reported.

"The sum of money generated is still considerable based on this," Kallas told the paper, adding that there has been talk of a €1.50 tourism tax per person for the major Western Estonian island. "This could generate approximately €1.5 million, which could be used to increase marketing and and organize large events."

While the current ticket price for a passenger vehicle on the Saaremaa ferry route is just over €8, local farmer Mati Tarvis believed that it could easily be raised by up to two euros next year to cover a tourism tax. "I do not believe that anyone would turn their car around over this," he commented.

The mayor of the island's capital city agreed. "The most reasonable thing to do would be to collect the tax as somehow linked with the ferries, should it be implemented; that would make it easier for people," he said.

Minister of Entrepreneurship and Information Technology Urve Palo (SDE) said that implementing a tourism tax should be left up to municipalities to decide.

"It could be done in cooperation with entrepreneurs and local authorities, as, if such a tax is collected, it should be clear for entrepreneurs what will be done in the region in question with this tax [revenue] in order to promote tourism," said the minister, adding that there was currently no plan to implement a nationwide tourism tax.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

Source: BNS

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