The new EU rule that risks ‘millions of Brits’ ditching Spanish holidays

Spain’s tourism leaders have warned they could lose millions of Brits if the European Union introduces a new tourist tax later this year.

The Mesa de Turismo – a lobby group made up of powerful tourism players in Spain – said this could pose a major problem for the country, calling the new fee a “menace”.

Spain's top tourism chiefs have warned the new EU rules could discourage tourists from visiting


Spain’s top tourism chiefs have warned the new EU rules could discourage tourists from visitingCredit: Alamy

The warning came as the board held its first general meeting of the year.

Two major issues have been identified in relation to Spain’s competitiveness as a tourist destination for the coming year.

The first was the airline Lufthansa’s commitment to convert Rome Fiumicino Airport into its new hub for intercontinental routes to Asia, America and Africa.

“This move would undermine the Madrid Barajas hub, which currently concentrates air traffic with Latin America, and consequently reduce the relevance of the Spain brand,” says the board.

Regarding the second cause for concern, the General Assembly of the Bureau expressed its concern about the introduction of a new tourist tax for non-EU visitors entering the Schengen area.

The European Union could apply this rate from November under the name European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) and would result in the payment of €7 per non-EU tourist.

“The Board is particularly concerned about the impact of this tax on UK tourism, our key emissions market with 18 million arrivals in 2019,” the board said in a statement after the meeting.

“It must also be taken into account that the measure – if implemented – will be added to the remaining local taxes already paid by the tourist to visit certain European cities.”

Juan Molas, President of Mesa de Turismo, said: “We warn of these two warnings that seem to go unnoticed but pose two potential threats to the competitiveness of the Spanish tourism sector.”

The ETIAS visa system means Brits have to pay extra to visit EU countries.

It costs €7 (£6.19) and all travelers between the ages of 18 and 70 must have one.

They must be requested before travel and can be completed online, although Brits must complete them at least 96 hours before departure.

A new website for the ETIAS applications will be activated in November 2023 but is not yet online.

The new European Union Entry and Exit System (EES) will also be rolled out across Europe later this year.

Here are some of the other new rules Brits will need to be aware of when traveling to Europe since Brexit.

Brits need an EU visa to visit Spain


Brits need an EU visa to visit SpainCredit: Alamy The new EU rule that risks ‘millions of Brits’ ditching Spanish holidays

Emma James

Emma James is a USTimesPost U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Emma James joined USTimesPost in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing

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