Tourism taxes and newly-imposed bans — here are the new travel rules that you need to know in 2024!

Updated: 5 February 2024

Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park Drone Shot of Car - Bangkok Itinerary

International travel is back to pre-pandemic times and we’re excited to visit our favourite places once again! But travelling may not be the same as before, as some popular destinations have started introducing new travel rules to curb the influx of tourists 😭

From tourist fees to electronic applications, here’s a list of new travel rules around the world! Have a look to see if your favourite holiday destination is affected:

1) Indonesia: Bali imposes tourism tax from 14 Feb 2024

Person at Mt Batur Peak - Things to Do in Bali

Happy Valentine’s Day from Bali 😭 — starting 14 February 2024, all foreigners will have to pay Rp150,000 (~s$12.80) in tourism tax when visiting mainland Bali, as well as its surrounding islands such as Nusa Penida, Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan.

FYI, the levy is per entry so if you’re returning from other nearby islands back to Bali, you’ll have to fork out another Rp150,000.

Tourists can pay the tax via the airport counters once in Bali or via the Love Bali website before arrival. For the latter option, you’ll receive a tourism levy voucher by email so remember to download the voucher and show it for scanning after arrival!

According to Bali provincial authorities, the tax collected will be used to improve tourist services, preserve Balinese culture and protect the environment.

Read also: 13 Best Things To Do in Bali in 2022 — Hidden Gems, Must-visits and New Experiences

2) EU: Implementing ETIAS from 2025

Hallstatt Old Town in Austria

From 2025, travellers who wish to enter these 30 European countries will have to submit a €7 (~S$12) ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorization System) application.

For those wondering, ETIAS is an electronic travel authorisation, not a visa so it applies to visitors from countries with visa-free travel (incl. Singapore) to the Schengen zone. But for travellers under 18 or over 70, your ETIAS application fee will be waived!

The ETIAS is valid for three years and you can leave and return as many times as you want.

Read also: 5 Budget Europe Itinerary Ideas under S$2.3k for Your Next European Adventure

3) South Korea: Possible tourism fee for Jeju Island

Wide Shot of Jeongbang - Things to do in Korea

Jeju is one of our favourite destinations with unique natural landmarks, pristine beaches and delicious street food. But, you might soon need to pay an average entry fee of ₩8,170 per day (~S$8.20) to explore this popular holiday island.

The fees include ₩1,500 (~S$1.50) for each night of stay, ₩5,000 (~S$5) per day for a car or minivan rental, and 5% of the cost of renting a bus.

Local authorities plan to use the money for environmental sustainability after a tourism boom led to an overload of sewage and garbage on the “Hawaii of Asia”.

Read also: 17 Exciting Things to Do in Jeju — From Bucket List Experiences to Lesser-Known Sights

4) Japan: JR pass price increase; Kyoto to stop selling 1-day bus passes

Featured - JR Pass Alternatives

The JR pass has been one of the most affordable ways to explore Japan. For instance, we saved ~S$72 using the JR pass when exploring Osaka and its outskirts!

But touring the Land of the Rising Sun by train is now at an additional cost, as prices of JR Passes have increased by more than 30% since October 2023.

Here’s a breakdown:

JR PassBefore After
7-day Ordinary Car JR Pass¥29,650 (~S$269)¥50,000 (~S$453)
14-day Ordinary Car JR Pass¥47,250 (~S$428)¥80,000 (~S$725)
21-day Ordinary Car JR Pass¥60,450 (~S$547)¥100,000 (~S$906)
7-day Green Car JR Pass¥39,600 (~S$359)¥70,000 (~S$634)
14-day Green Car JR Pass¥64,120 (~S$581)¥110,000 (~S$996)
21-day Green Car JR Pass¥83,390 (~S$755)¥140,000 (~S$1,268)

On top of that, Kyoto has stopped selling its one-day bus passes since September 2023 to combat overcrowding. A quick reminder — this pass gives you unlimited rides on city buses for ¥700 (~S$6.30), compared to a standard bus fare which costs ¥230 (~S$2) per trip.

Here’s some good news though, if you’ve already purchased the bus pass, it’ll still be valid until the end of March 2024!

Read also: JR Pass Guide — 9 Things You Need To Know Before Getting Your First Japan Rail Pass

5) Nepal: Solo and independent trekkers banned

Nepal Annapurna Circuit Trek 14 Day Expedition Thorong La Pass Top - New Travels Rules Around The World

Since 1 April 2023, the Nepal Tourism Board has banned all independent and solo trekking in the country. Under new travel rules, foreign hikers and cyclists can only roam the country when accompanied by a licensed local guide 😱.

This move aims to improve safety for foreigners, boost employment for locals and increase tourism receipts for the Himalayan country.

If you’re looking to conquer a trek in Nepal and are struggling to find your crew, join us on our 14D Annapurna Circuit Trek, Nepal Expedition! 😉

6) Bhutan: US$100/night (~S$134) tourist tax

Kingdom of Bhutan

Photo credit: The Telegraph

Bhutan finally reopened its borders in September 2022, but not before raising its tourist tax by nearly three times to US$200/night (~S$269)! This is a stark increase from U$65/night (~S$87) prior to the pandemic 😱

However, since September 2023, the remote Himalayan kingdom has halved its tourist tax to US$100/night (~S$134) to attract more tourists.

Local authorities cited the amount as a “sustainable development tax”, but visiting the self-proclaimed “happiest country on earth” might soon be a happy afterthought for many.

8) Spain: New tourism tax rules in Barcelona and Valencia

Carmel Bunker Viewpoint Sunset Barcelona Skyline - Things to do in Barcelona

Photo credit: @me_llamo_aki via Instagram

The tourist tax in Barcelona will be raised over the next few years as the city looks at fund improvements for its bus services, roads and escalators.

Here’s what you need to know city-wide municipal fees have increased by €1 (~S$1.50) to €2.75 (~S$4) since 1 April 2023. This fee will then rise to €3.25 (~S$4.80) from 1 April 2024.

Apart from that, Valencia will also be imposing a tourist tax on travellers staying in hostels, apartments, hotels and campsites starting early 2024. Depending on the accommodation type, you’ll have to fork out between €0.50 (~S$0.70) and €2 (~S$3) per night, for up to seven nights.

Read also: 16 Best Things to Do in Barcelona Besides the La Sagrada Familia

9) United Kingdom: Manchester imposes £1/night (~S$1.50) tourist tax

City of Manchester, United Kingdom

Photo credit: Yahoo News UK

Not so fun fact: Manchester became the first city in the United Kingdom to impose a tourist fee since 1 April 2023.

So, if you’re planning to catch your favourite football team in Manchester, be prepared to pay the nightly charge of £1 (~S$1.60) per room, per night if you stay in a hotel, guesthouse or apartment in the city centre.

The proceeds will be invested in enhancing street cleanliness, cultural initiatives, and tourist experiences.

10) Thailand: Proposed ฿300 (~S$11) entry fee

Pattaya Visitor at Sanctuary of Truth Temple - Thailand Road Trip

For those planning to travel to the Land of Smiles, take note that Thailand might be imposing entry fees for tourists around ฿300 (~S$11) for visitors arriving by air, and ฿150 (~S$6) for those entering via land or sea. There are no confirmed dates for when it will be implemented yet.

But hey, at least it’s for a good cause. The proceeds will help develop local tourist attractions and provide insurance coverage for travellers.

Read also: 8D Thailand Itinerary — Road Trip from Bangkok Under S$900

What do you think of these new travel rules? Let us know in the comments!

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