November 10, 2020: Today, Group NAO and Global Destination Sustainability Movement release a joint White Paper on the roles and impact of tourism taxation across Europe’s tourist destinations. The study is launched in partnership with European Tourism Association (ETOA) and with support from nine urban tourism destinations..

The goal of the white paper is to explore how tourism taxes can be designed to accelerate the recovery and long term development of a more sustainable and regenerative tourism industry.

As the pandemic has put almost all of Europe’s travel and tourism sector to a complete stop, many states have decided to temporarily suspend tourism taxes, reduce VAT or delay reporting as a relief to the industry. While the effect of these measures remains to be seen, the white paper also looks at how tourism taxes can be part of building resilience in the face of future crises.

From a handful of case studies, it is evident that revenues from tourism taxes can make a positive difference for destinations’ work in nature preservation, restoration of cultural heritage, and help fund social and community projects. While tourism taxes are often a hot topic of debate and strongly opposed by industry stakeholders, there is also evidence that the willingness to pay (WTP) among consumers is comparatively higher if the purpose of taxation and the use of revenue is transparent and meaningful. Also, tourism taxes are often favored by residents and can provide a platform for stronger destination collaboration.

The results of the white paper will be discussed at a cross-Atlantic conference for US and European Destination Management Organizations on November 10th and at a roundtable with industry experts and lead tourism researchers at Harvard University, November 19, 2020.

Contact Group NAO for questions and more details:

Peter Rømer Hansen
Co-founder, Group NAO

Guy Bigwood
Managing director, Global Destination Sustainability Movement

Group NAO works with transformative agendas, ideas and strategies in travel, tourism, culture and urban development. We are strategic creatives, change communicators and imaginative analysts.

The GDS-Movement’s mission is to enable destination management professionals to catalyse and co-create sustainable and circular strategies, that will enable destinations of the future to thrive, and society and nature to regenerate.