At a recent high-level meeting that included the governor of Quintana Roo (the state home to Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Tulum, etc.) and the Hotel Council of the Mexican Caribbean raised a serious concern from the destination’s tourism providers.
The vice president of the Hotel Council of the Mexican Caribbean made the case that the current VisiTax (a tourist fee charged to Cancun travelers) is unfair and shouldn’t still be in effect.
For many travelers, the VisiTax is seen as an almost mythical extra charge, which is rarely properly explained.
Here is an explanation of what the VisiTax is, and the most important details such as; What happens if a traveler doesn’t pay?
A Pandemic Bi-Product
The VisiTax is a new concept, first introduced in 2021 under the argument that the pandemic had put the destination’s financial security in serious doubt.
But now, 2 years later and with the area completely recovered from the pandemic’s vacation-busting effect, questions are being asked about why this tax is still being charged to travelers who already add a huge amount to the local economy.
On top of this, there is serious concern about how the tax is collected and the language used in its enforcement, which is seen as unnecessarily aggressive by many.
Who Has To Pay?
All non-Mexican visitors are required by law to pay the VisiTax when visiting Quintana Roo.
This also includes travelers staying in private vacation rentals and even short-term cruise ship visitors.
What Happens If You Don’t Pay?
Despite some of the common stereotypes about Mexico as a nation, laws are applied strictly, especially when it comes to taxation and air travel.
Failure to pay the VisiTax is almost always treated calmly at first; travelers will simply be asked to make payment there and then to continue with their journey.
But, if officials believe a traveler is trying to get out of payment this can lead to a hefty fine.
On top of this, airport officials are within their rights to deny travelers the freedom to leave until the tax is paid. Which naturally can seriously impact travel plans and become an unwanted financial burden when the cost of a new exit flight is factored in.
While the Hotel Council of the Mexican Caribbean is pushing the topic, with the aim of either its removal or simplification, until change comes, the side-effects of pushing back against this tax by travelers is a losing battle.
How To Pay The VisiTax
There are many official tourism booths where travelers can pay this tax, as well as being able to pay at the airport itself.
It is also possible for travelers to pay online, which is a very straightforward process that provides travelers with an email receipt to show upon their departure.
For travelers who prefer to pay online, please be aware that there are several scam payment sites that pretend to be official payment portals.
Many of these sites rank higher than the official payment websites in search engines, which can easily catch relaxed travelers off guard.
To pay online, only use the following official website, which is government-run:
If in doubt about the validity of the site you are on, double check the web address has gob.mx at the end; this shows it as an official Mexican government website.
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