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Confirmed: Rīga to introduce tourism tax starting 2021

The Riga City Council on September 25 supported the proposal on introducing a tourism tax  as of 2021.

All tourist facilities will have to pay a tax at the amount of €1 per person per night, but not more than €10 if the person is staying longer in the Latvian capital.

According to the Central Statistical Bureau, in 2018 Riga had 133 tourist facilities that served 1,716,787 guests who spent 3,281,884 nights in the Latvian capital. This means that the tourism tax would bring more than €3 million to the city's budget.

The local government expects that introduction of the tourism tax would cost about €110,000, including €60,000 in 2020 for three additional jobs, with future annual expense at €83,500. Also, in order to administer the tax, €50,000 would be needed for special software.

Local tourism tax is common practice in many European cities, including in Kaunas and Vilnius in Lithuania.

The new revenue stream will be channelled to the Riga Tourism Development Bureau (RTAB), recently the subject of an investigation by anti-corruption police

Earlier the city touted the new tax as a sort of investment in the tourism industry, which in the long run would actually increase tourist numbers despite obviously driving prices up. 

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