The UK will impose an entry fee for visitors using Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA)

man in airport waiting for boarding on plane

Learn about the new Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) system in the UK and the implementation of entry fee for visitors. Examine how this program contrasts with other nations that impose entry fees, such as the US and Europe, which have ESTA and ETIAS, respectively. Learn the rationale behind these charges and how they affect global travel.

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Governments all over the world are introducing entry fees to control tourist influx and generate cash as international travel becomes more and more common. The United Kingdom is getting ready to launch its own entrance system UK entry fee, known as the Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA), following in the footsteps of nations like the United States and Europe. The ETA mandates that all visitors, including those from the US and the EU who don’t need visas to enter the UK, acquire authorization and pay a charge.


Visa waiver programs have been in effect for a while, and they’re intended to make it easier for eligible people to travel. The Electronic System for Travel permission (ESTA), a $21 permission good for two years, was adopted in the US. Similar to the U.S., Europe will launch the 7-euro (about $7.50) European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) in 2024. Three years will pass until the ETIAS expires.

The ETA will cost £10 (about $12.50) in the United Kingdom and have a two-year validity term. Although this price may seem comparable to that of a large order of fish and chips, it does make it more expensive to enter iconic sites like the Eiffel Tower, the Coliseum, the Sagrada Familia, and the Acropolis individually than it is to enter UK attractions like the Tower of London and Edinburgh Castle.

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The ETA program will be implemented by the UK government by the end of 2024, with US and EU citizens among the first participants. Later this year, Qatar will become the first country to participate in the program, giving visitors a preview of how the ETA will operate and affect them.

Although the establishment of an access fee in the UK is notable, it is not an uncommon event. Similar fees for arriving travelers have already been put in place in many nations. For instance, starting in September 2023, Thailand will impose an entry tax of up to 300 baht (about $9) on all foreign visitors, regardless of their country of birth. Those traveling by plane will pay a fee of 300 Baht, while those via a bus, train, or boat will pay an extra fee of 150 Baht ($4).

These admission fees have been used by several nations to manage tourism resources and pay for traveler accident insurance. In contrast to Japan, which established a “sayonara tax” of 1,000 yen ($7) for departing tourists two years later, New Zealand implemented a cost of NZ$35 (about $22) in 2019. Foreign visitors to Bali, Indonesia must pay a local development tax of US$10, while adults traveling to France must pay the Taxe de Sejour, which costs $5.71 per day. Various states in the US impose occupancy fees on hotel reservations.

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Bhutan stands out from other countries due to its high tourism taxes. The nation changed its daily price from $200 to $250 to a Sustainable Development price of $200 in September. This fee now includes additional expenditures for food, lodging, transportation, and other services that were previously included by the package.

Entry fees are becoming more prevalent as a way to control tourist flows, create income, and encourage sustainable tourism practices as the world’s tourism scene continues to change. The goal of the UK’s ETA and other programs around the world is to achieve a balance between making travel easier and taking steps to ensure the long-term preservation and management of tourism resources.

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