a beach with buildings and a body of water

Mexico has done what virtually no other nation managed during the pandemic, and that’s pretty much to keep tourism booming. While routes were withdrawn, suspended or cancelled outright, airlines couldn’t add flights to Mexico quickly enough, amid huge demand.

For better, and of course worse, Mexico’s lack of travel restrictions, which do not even require a pre-flight covid-19 test created huge-huge demand. Now, a key tourism area is cashing in on the phenomenon, with a circa $11 cash grab per visitor.

Quintana Roo Add Tourist Tax

When business is booming and few other “easy” travel options exist, you can pretty much charge what you want. Mexico is doing exactly that, or more precisely, the much desired Quintana Roo region will.

From April 1st, 2021, all visitors to Cancun, Cozumel, Playa Del Carmen and Tulum will be forced to pay an additional 224 Mexican Peso tax, which comes out just under $11 USD. The fee can be paid online before the trip, during stay at hotel, or at the airport for departure.

a beach with buildings and a body of water

The Quintana Roo region, which includes Cozumel and and Cancun has taken in over 1 million visitors per month in the start of 2021, and $11 per visitor will certainly add up, if visitors don’t find the tax too pesky.

Unfortunately, as a “pop up tax” exclusive to just one region of Mexico, the surcharge isn’t coded into airline or hotel taxes and fees when you book, and therefore requires a separate transaction. The move adds just the slightest hassle to Mexico travel, albeit practically still none, given no entry restriction or covid-19 testing.

Paying The Quintana Roo Tourism Tax

So how do you pay online and save the hassle getting into Mexico? Mexico is launching a dedicated website appropriately called ‘Visitax’. The site is expected to launch very shortly, and will make for more streamlined and cash free processing of this new fee.

Quintana Roo is far from the first area to add a visitor tax during times of surging demand. In Italy, Venice added fees for cruise guests who weren’t staying the night in the city, while New Zealand added an environmental tax for all visitors which aims to revitalize the resources impacted by the footprint of tourism.

The tax, at just $11 per person is unlikely to change the overall financial picture for any travelers, but as other destinations begin to open up and competition heats up along with it, the added hassle could become a deal breaker, as travelers aim for streamlined experiences. With over 1 million arrivals per month, it’s sure to land a windfall of cash for Quintana Roo tourism bosses, if no one else, in the interim.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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  1. “Mexico is launching a dedicated website appropriately called ‘Visitax’”

    Visitax si a page that Quintana Roo will launch, not the federal mexican government.

  2. I’m no fan of departure taxes at any time and even less so when there’s no transparency about exactly where the money is going, as is the case here.

  3. 5/17/21 – We paid the tax Online before departing our resort and NO ONE asked us for the QR code at airport. Health questionnaire also only needed to leave Mexico and not upon arrival.

    1. How much was it? i just tried paying it before we leave on our vacation and it said $76.00. The new article said it was $11.00 per person.

  4. I just tired going to the “Visitax” web page on line and it said the total is $76.00. I thought it was suppose to only be $11.00 per person. I am confused. Does this need to be paid at the Cancun airport coming back?

  5. The visitax website charges a $38 processing fee! You can gave only list 5 people on the form. Does that mean if you have a family of 11 you must pay processing fees of 3 x $38?

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