Tourist tax in Barcelona and the rest of Catalonia
CostaBravaTouristGuide.com — The autonomous Spanish community of Catalonia, whose Costa Brava is one of Spain’s most popular tourist destinations, started to levy a tourist tax on November 1, 2012.
The Catalonia Tourist Tax applies to any facility where tourists stay overnight — from campgrounds and youths hostel to hotels and cruise ships.
Tourist apartments and private houses rented to tourists are subject to the charges as well.
Catalonia Tourist Tax: 2022 Rates
This information was last updated on January 10, 2022, and is still current on May 17, 2022.
|Type of Accommodation||Tourism Tax|
© Copyright 2022, Costa Brava Tourist Guide | Last updated: January, 2022
|Barcelona City||Extra Barcelona|
|Rest of Catalonia|
|5-star hotel, grand luxe hotel, luxury campsite, equivalent||€ 3,50||+ € 1,75||€ 3,00|
|4-star hotel, superior 4-star hotel, or equivalent||€ 1,70||+ € 1,75||€ 1,20|
|Dwelling for tourist use 2||€ 2,25||+ € 1,75||€ 1,00|
|Other establishments 3||€ 1,00||+ € 1,75||€ 0,60|
|Over 12 hours||€ 3,00||+ € 1,75||€ 3,00|
|12 hours or less||€ 1,00||+ € 1,75||€ 1,00|
Tourist Tax Chart: Explanation
The amount your pay depends on the type of establishment you are staying at, as well as whether you are staying in Barcelona or elsewhere in Catalonia.
“Dwelling for Tourist use“: These are dwellings rented by the owner, directly or indirectly, to third parties, repeatedly and in exchange for payment, for a continuous period of up to 31 days. For instance, Airbnb or Wimdu.
“Other Establishments“: Hotels or hostels with 3-stars or less, youth hostels, rural accommodation, campgrounds that are not in the ‘luxury’ sector.
Important additional information:
How to pay the tax
You pay your tourist tax (and, if in Barcelona, the extra city tax as well) at your accommodation.
The hotel (or other accommodation) is obligated to provide an itemized invoice that presents a clear and separate breakdown of the amount of tax charged.
We have heard that some tour operators claim the local taxes are already included in your vacation package. In that case, you should receive (and bring with you) an itemized bill.
Were you charged more than the listed rates?
From time to time we hear from people who run into higher charges than those listed above, with some accommodations listing an additional ‘hotel tax’ as well.
However, according to the Generalitat de Catalunya — the Government of Catalonia — there are no additional tax charges (other than the normal 10% VAT over the entire bill) that apply to tourists.
If your hotel charges higher rates under the guise of ‘tourist tax’ — or charges you an additional ‘hotel-‘ or ‘bed tax’ — you are being overcharged.
If you believe that is the case, stay calm and polite. Do, however, visit the Ajuntament (City Hall), a police station, or the local tourist office and ask for their help.
Costa Brava Tourist Tax?
Some people ask us about Costa Brava Tourist Tax rates. The Costa Brava is part of Catalonia, and does not have different tax rates.
Note that the city of Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia, does levy higher tourist stay fees, plus an additional city tax.
Most countries charge a tourist tax
When the tourism tax was originally proposed, hotel operators and others in the travel industry were upset. They feared that tourists would choose another vacation spot. And they balked at the effort and expense of updating hotel management software.
Some tourists were upset, too. Some hotheads called for a boycott – or at least threatened never to vacation in Catalonia again.
However, the Generalitat de Catalunya – the government of Catalonia – rightly points out that most countries, regions or cities in Europe and the rest of the world levy tourist taxes.
The government also predicted that the tax revenue would actually bring more tourists to this part of Spain.
Tourist tax earmarked for promotion, tourism-related infrastructure
In fact revenue is divided between the Catalan Tourism Agency, the local tourism boards and the town halls.
Not that the region is doing badly: before the COVID -19 pandemic, Catalonia’s 7.5 million inhabitants were joined by 16 million visitors a year, almost half of them in the summer.
But promotion of tourism to the region (referred to as a “country” by the community‘s government) remains necessary. Even more so now that the coronavirus pandemic has decimated tourism worldwide.
Aside from promotion, the tax revenue is also used to maintain and expand “tourism-related infrastructure.” Think, for example, of the maintenance of beach promenades or the reconstruction of beaches after storm damage.
It also includes maintenance of roads, beaches and nature areas. It even pays part of the salaries for extra police hours at events like the famous annual Blanes International Fireworks Festival.
The Catalan Tourist Board promotes Catalonia through Spain, Europe, and the rest of the world.
“Why should I have to pay tourist tax? That’s not fair!”
Some tourists balk at having to pay a tourist tax. They claim that since they are already spending money on hotels, bars bars, and restaurants they should not have to “fork out” even more money.
However, it would not be fair to expect local residents and businesses to bear all the costs related to the tourist industry. The tax is a small price to pay in exchange for clean beaches, well-maintained roads, and good facilities.
Note that Catalan and Spanish visitors are also charged.
By the way, the Generalitat says that for 96% of tourists who visit Catalonia, the tax only adds about 1% to a their total spending bill.
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This article was first published on November 8, 2012. We take care in keeping it up-to-date. The last update occurred on Tuesday, January 11, 2022.