Sofia Plans Significant Increase in Tourist Tax Rates

Business » TOURISM | July 6, 2024, Saturday // 16:06
Bulgaria: Sofia Plans Significant Increase in Tourist Tax Rates Photo: Stella Ivanova

Sofia is set to increase its tourist tax, as reported by The proposal emerged from the recent meeting of the Advisory Council on Tourism in the capital, marking the first adjustment in several years. Currently modest compared to other European cities, Sofia's tourist tax has remained largely unchanged.

Unlike practices abroad where tourists pay this tax separately upon hotel check-in, Sofia's system includes it in the accommodation fee, essentially leading to a "tax on tax" for hoteliers. Despite this, the city collects over BGN 2.3 million annually from this levy.

The proposed update aims to adjust the tourist tax rates per night based on hotel ratings. For 5-star hotels, the rate will rise from BGN 1.20 to BGN 3, for 4-star hotels from BGN 1 to BGN 2.50, and for 3-star hotels from BGN 0.80 to BGN 2. The rates for 2-star and 1-star accommodations are set to become BGN 1.50 and BGN 1, respectively. These adjustments are expected to take effect from January 1, 2025, following public consultation and subsequent reports to the Municipal Council.

Anton Penev, the new director of Municipal Еnterprise "Tourism" in Sofia, emphasized the importance of ensuring that tourism-related revenues are utilized transparently for the benefit of tourism development. Penev, an experienced tourism expert, plans to engage in information campaigns and meetings with hoteliers to foster better communication and collaboration towards enhancing Sofia's appeal as a tourist destination.

Tourism statistics for the first half of the year reveal promising growth in Sofia, with a 6% increase in tourist arrivals compared to the same period in 2023 and a 4% rise in overnight stays. The projected revenue from the tourist tax hike anticipates a substantial increase to approximately BGN 5.6 million annually, marking a significant boost in city revenues dedicated to tourism initiatives.

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Tags: sofia, tourism, tax

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