Destination and Policy Update

January 2020

Welcome to ETOA’s new edition of the City Tourism: Operators Update, now named Destinations and Policy Update. Some of the content in this month’s edition includes tourism tax updates for 2020, the strike in France and information on ETOA’s submission to consultations around tourism policies in Edinburgh and Amsterdam. 

If you are aware of any operational or policy changes in Europe which are not in this update or on our destinations or tourism tax pages, please contact 

ETOA’s Policy team wishes you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New year. Our office will be closed 25 December to 1 January. 



As previously announced, this visa-waiver scheme for the Schengen area is expected to be operational by end of 2021; implementation will begin in 2022. An ETIAS permit for citizens of visa-waiver countries will cost €7 and last for three years. For further information, please scroll down to the bottom of the landing page on visa policy. 

USA/EU visa reciprocity

Members may be aware that the USA currently does not offer visa-waiver status to all Schengen states: Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Poland and Romania were excluded. However, recent welcome news is that Polish citizens may now travel to the US visa-free. Technically, the EU is required to suspend reciprocal visa-waiver arrangements with any state that does not grant visa-waiver status to all EU states. However, the European Commission is making progress negotiating with the USA, and fully understands the economic harm that imposing visa requirements USA to EU would cause. ETOA monitors this situation very closely and intervenes when necessary. 


Following the result of the UK General Election on 12 December 2019, it is likely that the new UK Parliament will ratify the withdrawal agreement and the UK will leave the EU on 31 January 2020. The UK will then enter a period of transition until December 2020 where EU law will still apply. Therefore, there will be no significant change for visitors travelling from or to the UK during 2020. However, there will be implications for travel from 2021. Please keep checking the webpage during January 2020 for updates. 

Tourist Tax

All tourism tax pages for approximately 150 destinations are currently being reviewed. The following countries have been completed with all rates checked. Further information can be found on the country’s webpage. Main changes are:

  • Austria – Innsbruck rate to increase from January 2020 
  • Belgium – Bruges rate to increase from January 2020. Kortrijk, Ostend and Ypres new destinations added. 
  • France – Aix-en-Provence and Caen rates to increase from January 2020. Other destinations may follow and will be checked again in January. The band set by national government has largely stayed the same for 2020 (only the ‘Palace’ band has increased).
  • Germany – No change
  • Italy – Removal of low season rate in Como from January 2020 and Florence rates to increase from January 2020 (still maximum €5 per person per night for now). The rates increase in Florence is unrelated to the proposed amendment to the fiscal decree that is to allow some destinations such as Florence, Rimini and a few others the option to levy rates up to €10 per person per night alongside Rome and Venice. Destinations must be a provincial capital and tourist numbers twenty times higher than the number of residents. Approval is expected by national government this month. Therefore, it is possible that Florence may have a further increase in rates during 2020. 
  • Netherlands – Amsterdam, Eindhoven and Maastricht 2020 rates published. Haarlem also added. Other destinations may follow and will be checked again in January.
  • Portugal – Faro and Óbidos to start from March 2020 and January 2020 respectively. Braga, Mafra, Santa Cruz, Vila Nova de Gaia new destinations also added. 
  • Spain – Future plan in Barcelona to add a surcharge to existing tourist tax. Update on other destinations considering such as San Sebastián. 
  • Switzerland – No change
  • Turkey – New accommodation tax formally approved to start April 2020. 
  • United Kingdom – Updated content on Scotland including our response to latest consultation. 



Tax applicable on CDD contracts Under Art.51 of 2020 budget there is a new tax imposed on short-term limited contracts (CDDs). Whilst this would not affect auto-entrepreneurs it would affect those contracted as short-term workers (as opposed to freelance). We are in contact with Entreprises du Voyage in France who are already in dialogue with government, and will provide further updates as necessary. 

Strike: Disruption due to the strike in France is continuing. Public transportation is disrupted and some museums have amended their opening hours. We continue to update our Paris page. 

Paris – Seine high tide: Due to high tide and strong currents today, some docking points are not in use. We advise members to contact local partners as this may affect itinerary. 

Paris – inbound visitor numbers: For most recent information on 2019 visitor flows by origin market to Paris versus 2018, please see latest report from OTCP. 

Paris – Pass autocar: We have been informed by Paris city hall that they will increase controls around illegal coach parking in the city in 2020 as many coaches parking or dropping off illegally. If you would like to read more about the Pass autocar coach parking permit in Paris, click here. 

Paris – Pompidou centre: It has been confirmed that the Pompidou centre will not close in 2020 during the renovations, but that there may be some changes to entrance points. From 2020 school groups with children under the age of 18 are only allowed to visit in the morning before 11 am, all other groups will only be allowed after 11 am. More information here. 

Germany Berlin – ULEZ: From end of November 2019, a ‘Diesel Fahrverbot’ has been implemented on parts of 8 streets where diesel vehicles must be Euro 6. Further information on which streets can be found on our Berlin webpage 


Naples – coach access: Until 5 January, the city of Naples has banned access to the historical centre for coaches with over nine seats. Transfers for clients to hotels, airport, ports etc. are exempt from the ban. More information here. 

Amalfi coast – traffic plan 2020: Our understanding is that there will be changes to the access and direction of traffic on the Amalfi coast from Positano to Vietri sul Mare from 1 April 2020. More information about the regulation (in Italian) can be found here (page 6-7 contain important information). We are seeking more information and clarification and will update our Italy page when possible. 


Amsterdam – guiding: The public consultation for the draft policy plan (proposed to commence 1 April 2020) ended on 15 December. ETOA contributed with a written submission. You can read our submission and details about the proposed plan here. 

Amsterdam – New Year’s Eve traffic closures: As previous years, there are road closures in Amsterdam on New Year’s Eve including the Waterlooplein – Blauwbrug – Amstel-Rokin-Dam route (from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m.). Map of coach closures here. Furthermore, Amsterdam public transportation stops at around 8 pm on New Year’s Eve, and only limited bus services resume around midnight. More information here. 

Amsterdam – coach access 2020: We have just received the 2020 Amsterdam coach brochure with information about closures, parking and available routes. Click here to find the link to the brochure.  


Barcelona – low emission zoneThere will be a new low emission zone in Barcelona effective 1st January 2020. Further information is available here. Our current understanding is that there is a one-year moratorium for coaches, so they must meet a minimum standard consistent with the DGT labelling system in Spain (minimum Euro 4) effective January 2021. Non-Spanish vehicles will not have a DGT label but must still register to access the restricted zone. We will publish further information in due course. 

Barcelona – Picasso museum: We understand that there are plans to introduce new booking procedures from the new year. The exact date is to be confirmed but we shall advise members here once we receive this information. New procedures are to include online booking with operator specific log-ins and payment 72 hours prior to arrival. 

Madrid – FITUR: Together with UIC and Renfe, ETOA will hold a workshop on 23 January 11am-1pm at FITUR “Sustainable Tourism + Rail: How Railways can contribute to face the challenges of Sustainable Tourism”. We invite members interested to learn more about developing products around rail tourism to join. Learn more here. 

United Kingdom

Edinburgh – Tourism strategy: The Edinburgh Tourism Strategy Implementation Group (SIG) are developing the Edinburgh Tourism 2030 Strategy via an 18 month, 3 phase development programme running from October 2018 to January 2020. ETOA submitted a response to the consultation. More information on our Edinburgh page. 

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