Starting April 1 all international visitors over age 15 to the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, which includes Cancun, Playa Del Carmen, Cozumel and Tulum, will have to pay a new tourism tax of 224 pesos (US$10.81). Visitors from Belize get a 10% discount.
The tax is enforced upon departure. It isn’t included when you buy your airline tickets, making it an extra hassle apart from the cost. The tax can be paid online by credit card at a new Visitax website expected to launch later this month, or at the airport where cash will be an option as well.
JW Marriott Cancun, credit: Marriott
This tax, flying in the face of the maxim that when you tax something you get less of it, is ironically meant to promote tourism. Funds are – in theory – supposed to be used “to create more jobs and attractions.”
Of course if the attractions were really going to draw visitors they’d likely be self-financing and wouldn’t require a tax, so consider the likelihood that this is a popular way to grow government revenue by ostensibly placing the burden on those who can’t vote (other than with their flights and wallets, but the relative cost compared to the total trip is low).
Mexico has remained open throughout the pandemic, so U.S. tourists have flocked South. The U.S. federal government now requires a negative Covid-19 test before returning to the country, which adds a hassle and expense to the trip, and this additional $11 piles on top of that. However Mexico is confident they can tax tourists since over 1 million people per month are currently traveling to Cancun.
If you visit Cancun, and plan to stay at an all-inclusive, you may still require cash. And you can travel to a yoga retreat in Tulum, find your True North, but go easy on the smoothies because you’ll need $11 bucks in your pocket to leave.