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The Unpopular Tax in Quintana Roo, Mexico, is Going Up in 2024

It’s going to get more expensive to visit a certain state in Mexico in 2024.

In April 2021, a tourism tax was implemented by the Mexican state of Quintana Roo. The unpopular tax, known as VISITAX, is going up in price, according to the head of Travelkore, the Toronto-based company contracted and authorized by the state of Quintana Roo to collect tax payments from foreign tourists. Quintana Roo is where popular destinations such as Cancun, Tulum, Playa del Carmen, and Cozumel are located. The VISITAX helps to fund local infrastructure projects such as train and road networks and airports. It has also been put in place to help protect local treasures, such as beaches and historical Maya sites.

Plaza Confetti, Cozumel, Mexico

Plaza Confetti, Cozumel, Mexico

The purpose of the tax is clear; however, implementation and overall enforcement have not been.

Despite state attempts to collect the tax at the beginning of implementation at the Cancun airport, many visitors ignored the order since proof of payment was often not requested. Signs were posted (who reads signs anymore?), and representatives tried stopping tourists ahead of security, reminding people to pay by scanning a QR code, our favourite old “new” technology.

Some travellers and travel professionals took to social media to proclaim they didn’t have to pay the tax or that payment was not being checked, giving a false impression the tax was optional.

It’s not optional. It’s mandatory.

The legality of the tax was further advanced in July when the head of taxation for Quintana Roo issued an official communication, making it compulsory for travel operators to “inform and collect” VISITAX, which can be paid either upon arrival, during a stay, or before leaving Mexico.

The order was certified through the apostille process, which means it stands under international law.

Pay Up

As reported by Sipse in July, (a Mexico-based news outlet), at least four out of 10 tourists (at the time) were not paying the tax. Closing out 2023, 200 million pesos were collected, only 10 percent of the estimated income potential for the tax. As of December 18, 2023, that converts to US$11,652,349.25 (1 MXN = 0.0582616 USD; 1 USD = 17.1640 MXN).

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The Quintana Roo State VISITAX law is currently US$18.80 per person.

Effective December 23, 2022, the Law of Rights of the State of Quintana Roo, article 51-octies amended to make VISITAX mandatory for all international visitors. The only exemption applies to individuals entering the state from the southern border.

When travelling to the state of Quintana Roo in Mexico, it is now mandatory to pay the visitor tax (VISITAX) and obtain a QR code directly to your email as evidence of payment.

Beware: you should never be asked to make a cash payment for VISITAX upon arrival at your destination. Additionally, you should never be charged more than US$18.80 per person, including service charges or convenience fees, with this fee changing in February 2024. The only time this may be different is if you have specifically requested your licensed travel agent to make the payment on your behalf.

Note: VISITAX is now a legal requirement for travellers, and it is the responsibility of everyone to ensure they have paid it per the Law of Rights of the State of Quintana Roo.

Ground agents are obligated to inform you of VISITAX. If you are given any information contradictory to Travelkore’s website, record the agent or employee details and report it to Travelkore or your travel agent.

There are four steps to paying your VISITAX, which you can check out on Travelkore.

The VISITAX fee will increase on February 1, 2024, when Mexican taxes change. Details on the new amount of the tax will be revealed the first week in January. In addition, there will be a penalty fee for tourists who refuse to pay the tax. This fee will also be coming in 2024.

All travel operators, airlines, and travel providers are mandated to collect on behalf of the state.

A Black Eye for Quintana Roo

The Mexican Caribbean Hotel Council met with the governor of Quintana Roo, Mara Lezama, to request an analysis of the viability and how payment for VISITAX is being implemented. The council believes it to be invasive and even deceptive in the way the tax is required by the authority, as reported by Reportur.

The hotel sector requests the need and convenience of maintaining this VISITAX be reviewed. It was also requested the collection of VISITAX should be modified to avoid damaging the destination’s image.

Enter the Scammers

The scammers always show up, don’t they? Several unauthorized websites are collecting the tax—sometimes at higher prices—and confusing the public’s understanding of it. Travelkore is the only official and authorized payment system app for the tax. The app seems to be user-friendly and is a QR code-enabled platform.

Stay in the Know

Maya Observatory, Chichen Itza, Mexico

Maya Observatory, Chichen Itza, Mexico

Mexico is a great country to explore if you are considering becoming an expat. The country offers a 180-day tourist visa for the taking, giving you ample time to see if Mexico is the right fit for you. What do you have to lose? You can come for an extended vacation and try out why over 2 million Americans call Mexico home… plus add this one Canadian (me) among many others who have chosen to fly the cold coop of Canada. If Mexico isn’t right for you to relocate to, no harm, no foul. You’ve just had a great vacation and made precious memories.

Want to read more of my Mexican adventures? Check out how I obtained residency in Mexico with the Mexico Amnesty Visa and subscribe to Escape Artist Insiders magazine, where I share my stories and experiences of other expats.

All photos by Charlotte Tweed

Charlotte TweedCharlotte Tweed is an adventurous soul with a goal to take you on a journey where you don’t just visit—you live it. Graduating with a Travel and Tourism Honours diploma, Charlotte began her expat journey on June 15, 2021. After travelling through multiple countries, Charlotte now calls Mexico home. Reading, writing, and researching the best expat destinations in the world are how she fills her days. As a published author, her mission is to transform your life with expat travel—one destination, one adventure, one story at a time.

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