City council chair: Tallinn should have tourist tax like Venice

Tiit Terik and Ermelinda Damiano.
Tiit Terik and Ermelinda Damiano. Source: Tallinn City Council Office

According to Tallinn City Council chair Tiit Terik (Center), Tallinn should consider implementing a tourist tax, as despite the fact that 600,000 tourists visited Estonia's capital city last summer, they did not spend enough in town to cover growing expenses.

Terik met with his Venetian colleague Ermelinda Damiano on Thursday, with whom he also discussed tourist taxes, among other things. Last year, Venetian leaders decided to start collecting taxes on day-trippers in order to help cope with an ever-increasing deluge of tourists. A tax on entering the city will be implemented on July 1, ranging from €3-10 per person depending on the season.

"The tourist tax issue has generated heated responses here as well, but I believe that Tallinn should implement something similar," Terik said. "More than 600,000 cruise tourists alone visited Tallinn in summer 2019. We know that cruise passengers don't really leave much money in Tallinn; they don't sleep or eat here, and buy maybe €60-70 worth of souvenirs. But the city has to take care to ensure that tourist buses can park, that there are toilets, and all other infrastructure as well."

Tallinn Deputy Mayor Aivar Riisalu (Center) brought up the implementation of a tourist tax last October as well.

"The time is ripe that we [the city] discuss the implementation of a tourist tax together with relevant interest groups, and that we seek the state's approval for doing so," Riisalu said at the time. "Perhaps we've reached the point where this is inevitable."

The deputy mayor found that the tourist tax should be €0.50-1 per person in size, and that the money collected should go toward supporting the preservation of Tallinn's Old Town.

According to the latest statistics, tourists spend an average of €80 in Tallinn.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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