In a major shift to the way tourism works in Europe, officials have announced that the continent will start charging for entry in 2024. The decision was made at a recent meeting of the European Union’s Council of Ministers, and it comes as part of an effort to raise revenue for member states while also reducing the number of tourists who come each year.
According to the proposal, visitors from countries outside the EU will have to pay an entry fee of €7 per person. This fee will apply to all travelers over the age of 18, and it will be used to fund various public services in the countries that receive tourists.
While the fee may seem small, it has already drawn criticism from some who say that it will hurt the tourism industry in Europe. However, officials maintain that it is necessary to cover the costs of maintaining and improving tourist destinations.
“This fee is intended to support investment in the infrastructure and services that make Europe an attractive destination for visitors,” said Josep Borrell, the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. “It will also help to deal with the negative impacts of tourism, such as overcrowding and environmental damage.”
The move has been praised by some environmental groups, who say that it will help to manage the environmental impact of tourists. They point to cities like Venice and Barcelona, where overcrowding has led to protests and a backlash against tourism.
It remains to be seen how the fee will be implemented and enforced, though officials say that they will work with member states to develop a system that is fair and effective. For now, tourists can rest assured that they will have a few years before they are required to pay for entry.