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Riga Town Hall demands new tax from vacationers

November 13, 2013, 17:55 UTC+3 RIGA

Over the past few years the number of tourists visiting the Latvian capital has grown many times

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RIGA, November 13, 17:33 /ITAR-TASS/. The Riga City Council intends to charge a new tax to be paid by travelers who will stay at Riga hotels for purposes of tourism, Head of the Riga City Council’s committee on city development Maxim Tolstoy told Baltic First Channel on Wednesday.

"Over the past few years the number of tourists visiting the Latvian capital has grown many times. Since 2009 the number of the tourists has grown threefold, and it might reach two million by the year's end. Russian tourists account for approximately 25 percent of all the tourists who visit Riga," Tolstoy said.

Thanks to a program of the development of tourism into Latvia launched in 2009 the accommodation load at Latvian hotels is 100 percent now, with no vacant rooms left. Therefore, we are planning to charge foreign visitors tourist fees, which has already been practiced in other European cities,Tolstoy said. It will be a symbolic fee worth 1-2 euro per night. The fee will be higher at more expensive hotels, while cheap hotels will charge a low fee, he said.

To improve the quality of services offered to foreign tourists only professional guides with certificates confirming their qualification will work in Riga, Tolstoy said.

After a new summer season begins all the hotels located at the seaside in Jurmala will also charge tourist fees. All the vacationers who will stay in Jurmala overnight will be charged fees regardless of the place where they will be staying. The tariff charged for accommodation at Jurmala sanatoriums and guest houses is half-euro per night. The fee paid by vacationers who will stay on camping grounds and in hostels will be twenty eurocents per person. The money raised from the taxation will be used for the development of tourism into Latvia.

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