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Global tourism is booming — but in these cities, travel comes with a catch

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WASHINGTON (CIRCA via MOBIUS.LAB) — Do you have a serious case of wanderlust?

You're not alone. Global tourism is a booming industry; it increased by 6.8 percent from 2016 to 2017, totaling 1.3 billion travelers.

Though tourism serves as economic booster for many of the world's must-visit destinations, it also places a strain on the livelihoods of local residents. As a result, some cities are implementing tourist taxes in 2019 to offset the costs of waste management, cultural preservation, pollution and environmental protection. It's also hoped that these increased fees will help build infrastructure in places where tourists greatly outnumber residents.

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The canals that once helped Venice, Italy, transform into a global mercantile power have led to increased flooding in recent years. Officials say that's the result of a combination of factors, including changing climates and an influx of tourists straining historic sites not equipped to handle massive crowds. Each year, an estimated 20 million tourists visit Venice — greatly outnumbering the 50,000 local residents.

In late 2018, the Italian government approved a move that would allow officials to charge each tourist up to 10 euros (roughly $11) while visiting Venice's historic center. The tax is expected to go into effect in May.

“In this way we can start addressing Venice’s many extra expenses. That will mean a saving for Venetians,” said Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro. He noted that the revenue will help with the maintenance and cleaning of the city.

Waitangi, a small historic city in New Zealand home to about 2,000 people, is planning on implementing a one-time tourist tax of around $25 later this year, according to the Star Tribune. The money will go to infrastructure projects and environmental preservation efforts.

Have plans to visit Tokyo for the 2020 Olympics? You're going to pay an extra $9.23 as part of Japan's recently implemented "sayonara tax," which is applied to plane and ship transportation fares to all passengers regardless of nationality.

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