More taxes hit European cruises as season kicks off


Passengers arriving in the Croatian city of Dubrovnik on a cruise ship will be subject to a new tax from 2021, it was announced this week.

Each cruise ship passenger will have to pay a tax of Euro1 per day from 2021, Dubrovnik mayor Mato Frankovic announced at a European travel fare in Berlin.

With close to €1 million expected to be collected in revenues from the new tax, Franković says the Euro 1 million raise will be used to improve infrastructure in the city and transport systems.

This is the second hit recently for cruisers by the Dubrovnik authorities who are also looking at ways to deal with overcrowding problems.

This year a maximum of two cruise ships, with no more than 5,000 passengers, will be allowed to dock daily in Dubrovnik.

Dubrovnik is not alone. Some cruises lines have stopped calling at Amsterdam after the city revealed it would be imposing a tourist tax on cruise passengers.

The city has tourist levies in place for those who book hotels, B&B’s as well as Airbnb, which means that cruise passengers have bypassed the tax – until now.

From January 1, Amsterdam started charging cruise operators €8 per person for visitors staying 24 hours or less, which is then passed on to passengers.

Cruise and Maritime Voyages (CMV) and MSC Cruises, as a result of the tax, have decided to replace or cancel stops in the city. CMV also pointed out that Amsterdam revealed the tax at late notice. The city only told cruise lines about the levy in November 2018.

CMV’s CEO Christian Verhounig said in a statement: “Stringent cost controls and long-term planning are key components in achieving the required CMV pricing model. The late introduction of these new and un-phased charges are therefore not budgeted and simply cannot be absorbed.”

Instead, the line will be sending its ships to Rotterdam.

Amsterdam city stands to lose between €50-100 per passenger in respect of potential spend.”

The Cruise Lines International Association in the UK and Ireland said members were extremely disappointed that the City of Amsterdam has introduced a day tourist tax.

Andy Harmer, director of CLIA UK & Ireland told The Telegraph: “Transit cruise passengers represent only one per cent of the total tourist traffic in Amsterdam and last year the City of Amsterdam received over €60 million in net revenues from the Port of Amsterdam as a result of cruise calls to the city.

“In comparison the remaining 99 per cent of the tourist traffic are expected to contribute via all tourist taxes, just short of €80 million in 2019. It is self-evident that the contribution of cruise passengers is extremely disproportionate.”

Amsterdam is not the only city to put a tax on cruise passengers – Venice also recently imposed a €10 fee on visitors, which would then be added to their ticket. The city also announced, it would be banning cruise ships over 55,000 tonnes from sailing past St Mark’s Square which would come into effect by 2021.

In 2017, the Catalan government said it would be updating its tourist tax to include cruise passengers staying less than 12 hours in the port of Barcelona.