A Spanish holiday hotspot is set to introduce a new tourist fee to tackle overcrowding and curb “disrespectful” visitors.
Officials in Santiago de Compostela want to introduce a fee for travelers to remind people to be polite during their trips.
As the Spanish city struggles to cope with the influx of visitors, concerns have been raised about protecting historic landmarks.
The popular tourist destination is known as the terminus of the pilgrimage route, to which a network of routes across Europe leads.
Thousands of believers flock to the baroque cathedral, last year a whopping 439,000 people streamed through the streets.
But city leaders want the region to become more “breathable” as Santiago de Compostela is now inundated with tourists.
They hope to introduce a hotel tax in 2025 with a proposed fee of between €0.50 and €2.50 per person.
According to the authorities, this could bring in up to three million euros a year, which would be used to protect the historic city center.
The newly elected mayor Goretti Sanmartín, who wants to rename tourism in Santiago de Compostela, pushed the project forward.
She told local media, “We want to have a rich and prosperous tourism sector, but also a comfortable and breathable city.”
Ms Sanmartín stressed the challenges of managing the influx of tourism and said there was a need to raise public “awareness”.
She continued, “It’s not so much about the number of people arriving as it is about people’s knowledge that the basic norms of coexistence must be respected and that respect and care for heritage must be ensured.”
“It’s more of a consciousness issue that we need to address from the start.”
The mayor said money from the program will be used to improve hygiene, safety and heritage management.
A previous evaluation, carried out during the tenure of socialist Xosé Sánchez Bugallo, proposed a hotel tax of between €0.50 and €2.50 per person.
However, the implementation was postponed to 2025.
They expected €3 million in revenue and planned to use this to, among other things, refurbish the historic center and pay for overruns in cleaning services.
Mayor Sanmartín said the material would be reviewed within 15 days and presented at a meeting with the Galician regional government.
A similar fee was charged by officials in Bali to help preserve the culture, but at a higher fee of £7.50.
A number of popular destinations in Spain have already introduced tourist taxes to boost their finances.
Local governments in the Region of Valencia have been given permission to levy a charge of up to €2 (£1.75) per person per night.
Popular holiday resorts such as Benidorm and the Costa Blanca, as well as the city of Valencia, could be affected, although Benidorm authorities have said they do not want to collect the tax.
Elsewhere, Barcelona has already increased its tourist tax this year and plans to increase it again next year.
The Catalan capital has had a tourist tax since 2012, but prices have risen since then.
From April 2024, tourists will pay €3.25 (£2.80) per night instead of €2.75 (£2.40).
Other cities could soon follow suit, with the capital Madrid also considering its own tourist tax.
The Balearic Islands have had a visitor tax since 2016.
Currently, tourists can pay around £3.50 a night depending on their accommodation category and time of year, which means couples can expect to pay an additional £50 for a seven-day holiday.