What’s a “Climate Crisis Resilience” Tax and Why Is Greece Charging One?

After a year of historic natural disasters, the new tax will help fund reconstruction efforts

Santorini, Greece. This year, the country has introduced a new tourist tax called the "climate crisis resilience fee."
There's a new tourist tax for those traveling to Greece.
Getty Images

The list of taxes and fees to be aware of when traveling seem to go on forever — occupancy taxes, county taxes, city taxes, value added taxes, tourism taxes, resort fees, registration fees, service fees, transfer fees and cleaning fees, to name a few. This year, Greece is tacking a new one onto that list, one you may not be familiar with: a climate crisis resilience tax.

The new tax will replace the previous hotel tax in anticipation of what the Greek government believes will be a banner year in tourism for the country, according to Skift. If last year was any indication — international arrivals in Greece were up 7% from 2019 between January and September — it will be.

But last year was a landmark year for Greece for another reason. The country experienced a number of historic natural disasters — heatwaves, wildfires and floods chief among them — all of which, according to the Institute of the Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises, had dire effects on tourism. This new tax will hopefully help to mitigate those effects ultimately by funding reconstruction efforts.

While the fee is nominal — between €0.50 and €4 per night from November to February, and €1.50 and €10 per night from March to October, based on the official rating of the venue — there is still some concern that it might deter tourists. That said, while climate crisis-related taxes may still be a novel concept, there’s a high likelihood you’ll start seeing them more and more.

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As it stands now, many destinations with existing tourist taxes are already using those funds to combat damage to the environment (albeit generally damage at the hands of tourists themselves rather than natural disasters), so this really isn’t all that different. Last year, for example, Hawaii lawmakers toyed with the idea of implementing legislation that would require tourists to pay for licenses to visit state parks and trails, in an effort to help promote and protect them. Next month, Bali is set to introduce a tourist tax, the proceeds of which will go towards “preserv[ing] the environment, nature and culture.” Countries like Bhutan, the Netherlands, Malaysia and Croatia already have them. In New Zealand, they have what’s called the International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy.

Perhaps, in some alternate universe, there could be an argument for tourist taxes that are explicitly for reversing the damage inflicted by tourism, but against a tax that requires visitors to cover the costs of cleaning up natural disasters. But here on Earth, that’s a tough argument to make, as many of these natural disasters are a result of the climate crisis, which itself is a result of human activity (followed later by the failure of humans to act). In other words, paying a trifling climate crisis resilience tax is the least any of us can do. And if you’re traveling from the U.S. in this economy, you can almost certainly afford it.

Now some of those resort fees, however…


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