St. Petersburg is seeking funds for preservation of the historical center
Governor of St. Petersburg Valentina Matvienko has proposed to create a legislative framework for the collection of a new tax on tourism. As an example of the long and successful existence of such a gathering, Mrs. Matvienko has led Europe and the United States, where the tax is called the “city tax” and is usually included in hotel bills. So often a tourist pays it, not even knowing it.
These fees go to maintain order in the city, restoration of historical and cultural attractions. In Europe, the “city tax” is usually a few Euros.
Perhaps such a decision of the governor was due to the fact that, according to “Time of news”, in the ownership of St. Petersburg are 680 historically important architectural sites, to contain and restore of which is the responsibility of local authorities. Among them are Mariinsky hospital, Peter and Paul Fortress (the entire complex, except for buildings of the Mint), Smolny Convent, housing of Smolny Institute, and other buildings.
Due to changes in legislation related to tourism, whereby tourists are traveling in transit through Russia, and cruise ship passengers may remain on the territory of Russia within 72 hours, the number of tourists visiting the city, despite the crisis, remained at the level of 2008. So, according to preliminary and indicative estimates of experts, even a tax of two Euros per person can bring the city about 10 million Euros per year.
Agency “Rosbalt” cites the statement by Valentina Matvienko: “St. Petersburg has no authority to install additional taxes and fees, but we can find an acceptable form. If each tourist will leave the city two or three Euros, and they will go to preserve the historic center, I think few people will be against this paltry sum. But we can use these funds for the restoration of monuments of architecture.”
Investment Committee had been instructed to work out this issue and find a legitimate reason for levying a new tax. Some experts believe that it is virtually impossible – in fact it would greatly change the tax laws of Russia.
However, as explained to the correspondent of this newspaper the president of the northwestern department of Russian Union Travel Industry Sergey Korneev, there are several options for legitimate solution. On the one hand – the said amendments to the tax code. On the other – you can recall that in the same Tax Code is designated “resort fee” which is currently almost free of charge.
The history of tax in Europe is the most different. For example, in 2006 in a number of Italian cities such as Florence, Rome and Venice were planned to introduce a tax on tourism. It was supposed to be from two to five Euros. However, the Italians, who constitute 70% of the guests of Italian hotels were able to reverse the alleged “city tax”.
On the other hand, this collection has long and successfully existed in the Netherlands, Nice, and mentioned already, the United States.