▲ Millions of tourists pass through Jeju Airport every year. Photo courtesy visitjeju.net.
Jeju plans to introduce an environmental tax targeted at tourists visiting the island. The new plans were announced on July 3.
Should it be introduced, the tax would see visitors staying in hotels charged 1,500 won per person per day. There would also be a 5,000 won charge per day for renting a car and, for those on group tours, a fee of 5% of the cost of renting a tour bus. There would be a 50% reduction on the charge if tourists choose to use an electric car.
The money would reportedly go towards solving the problems of cleaning up extra waste left by tourists as well as traffic congestion and fine dust. It is estimated that 150 billion won would be collected per year should the plan go ahead.
There has been a debate about introducing an environment tax to tourist on Jeju for years now. While the people in favor of the idea think the money is needed to help deal with the extra costs brought by the onslaught of people coming to the island, those against it feel that Jeju should not be allowed to charge people to come to the island.
An early version of the plan considered charging visitors a small percentage of the price of the plane ticket. However, the newer version of the plan may be more successful as it is more likely to affect tourists, not all people coming to the island.
Tourism taxes are fairly common in Europe and Jeju’s scheme would be similar to those found in European cities such as Milan and Barcelona, as well as Spain’s Balearic Islands. Tourists staying in hotels on these islands have to pay between one euro and four euros per person, per day, depending on the type of accommodation they are staying in.
However, the plans are still a few steps away from actually being introduced; they will have to be discussed with the National Assembly before Jeju is given approval to implement them.
ⓒ Jeju Weekly 2009 (http://www.jejuweekly.com)
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