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Travel in 2024: A Different Experience for British Tourists as Europe Introduces New Measures

Travel enthusiasts and holidaymakers will need to brace themselves for a transformed travel experience in 2024, as Europe implements various measures that could alter the way Britons vacation on the continent. A closer look at these changes reveals a more intricate and potentially costlier journey ahead.

Brexit-Driven Border Checks: One of the most significant transformations in travel will be the introduction of new post-Brexit border checks for Britons travelling to the European Union (EU). To gain entry, British travellers will now need to consent to have their fingerprints taken and facial images captured. Additionally, personal data, including name, date of birth, nationality, and travel documents, will be shared as part of these new measures. While this may replace passport stamping, several EU countries, including Slovenia and Austria, have raised concerns over the potential delays these additional checks may cause. Regardless of the mode of transportation, whether flying, using the Eurotunnel, or cruising, compliance with these checks will be mandatory. However, children under 12 years old will be exempt. The checks apply to all EU countries, except Cyprus and Ireland, as well as non-EU countries Norway, Iceland, Switzerland, and Lichtenstein.

Tourist Taxes and Fees Surge: Upon arriving in European countries, British tourists will also encounter higher tourist taxes and fees than before. Commencing in January 2024, Paris, for instance, will witness a tourist tax increase of up to 200%. The current rate, ranging from €0.25 (22p) to €5 (£4.30) per night, depending on accommodation type, may surge significantly with these new proposals. If the maximum 200% increase (€10) is charged, the €5 charge could escalate to €15 (£13) per person per night. The rationale behind these heightened fees is to improve public transport infrastructure, though it could add nearly £50 per person to a three-night weekend break in a more upscale hotel. Similarly, Amsterdam’s tourist tax will rise to 12.5% of the hotel room’s price. Cruise ship guests will also face increased fees, with charges rising from €8 (£6.95) to €11 (£9.55) per visitor. Additionally, higher taxes are being introduced in Venice, Valencia, Barcelona, Madrid, Olhao, Faro, and Figueira da Foz. These changes will necessitate more thoughtful budgeting for British travellers when venturing abroad in 2024, especially during times when finances are already stretched.

Shift in Cruise Routes: The impact of these changes extends to cruise vacations as well. Cruise passengers will face both higher fees and altered itineraries, with some popular ports being omitted altogether. Amsterdam City Council has already voted to shut down the cruise terminal, while Barcelona closed its north terminal. These decisions force approximately 340 cruise ships to dock further away at the Moll d’Adossat pier. Moreover, a “one-ship-per-terminal” rule is now enforced in Barcelona, allowing only seven cruise ships to dock at any given time. This is just the beginning, with further restrictions, such as the planned closure of Barcelona’s south terminal by 2026, on the horizon. Many local governments justify these tourist taxes and cruise restrictions as necessary measures to prevent overcrowding and enhance local facilities. Some bans on cruise ships, like Venice’s ban on large cruise ships in 2021, are rooted in environmental concerns. While these actions aim to address pressing issues, travellers should anticipate limited mobility and greater constraints on their travel choices.

Despite these challenges, there is a silver lining as British tourists will gain access to a wider range of destinations more easily. Renowned airlines like British Airways, Ryanair, and easyJet have announced expanded flight routes to numerous European destinations, many of which are available at affordable prices. As families traditionally plan their 2024 summer getaways in the coming weeks, they may find enticing deals during the January sales. However, regardless of the destination, travellers must navigate a more complex landscape in 2024, requiring careful consideration and preparation for their European adventures.

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