Paying a Tourist Piper

by Denis Boyles

An interesting article this morning (h/t Dods) from Deutsche Welle on a new tax the Obama administration is now applying to visitors to the U.S.

Travelers who do not require visas for the United States – such as most citizens of Europe, including Germany, as well as Australia, New Zealand, South Korea and Japan – must pay a $14 tax (11 euros) starting Wednesday.

Travelers from so-called Visa Waiver Program (VWP) countries “must pay operational and travel promotion fees” when applying for an Electronic System for Travel Authorization, or ESTA, US authorities announced.

We’ve come a long way from the days when people who wanted to visit New York used to have to make repeated appointments to line up at embassies around Europe just to get a stamp allowing them to spend money in America. But making people who want to visit the U.S. pay “travel promotion fees” is pretty crazy, too, like Holiday Inn charging you an extra buck for their brochure. It not only does nothing for the American “travel promotion” industry, it also will lead to a cycle of retaliation, adding more and more taxes to an already hideously overtaxed product.

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