It’s been a long time coming, but the new fee aimed at international tourists to the USA is finally here. Those arriving in the US as of September 8th are required to dish out £9 ($14 US) to enter the country. The fee is meant to “promote” tourism but it’s already getting criticism for doing the opposite.
The new fee affects travellers from 36 nations around the world including many of Europe’s member states and Japan. The 36 nations are the same that fall under the US visa waiver program which essentially allows travellers to enter the USA for up to 90 days without needing to apply for a visa.
With a budget aimed at cutting back, the US needed some way to come up with the funds to promote American tourism. Their only idea was to charge tourists to support their tourism industry. It sounds backwards to a lot of travellers, not just you. Many in the industry think it will have the opposite effect, further deterring travellers from spending their holidays in the US. It essentially adds an additional fee of almost £40 to a (2 parent, 2 child) family’s holiday budget.
Air Passenger Duty (APD) fees are also expected to rise in November, adding an additional £30 to the cost of a trans-Atlantic flight to the US. Travellers can save though, by searching for their flights to the USA well in advance, when fares are cheapest.
Did you know that 56 other countries around the world charge entry or exit fees for visiting their countries?
If you plan to travel to the US, you must fill out the ESTA form online at least 72 hours before departure. It is applicable for 2 years, so travellers don’t need to worry about paying the fee per-trip.
What do you think of the new fee? Will it promote or deter travellers in the future?
Img: tenaciousme / flickr cc