This article has been reviewed by Wego‘s editorial team to ensure that the content is up to date & accurate.
Updated August 2023
Dubai, a city that beautifully showcases modern grandeur and innovative creativity, is encircled by impressive skyscrapers, pristine coastlines, and captivating cultural treasures. The city has adopted a forward-thinking approach to managing tourism, including the implementation of a tourist fee or tax.
This fee plays a significant part in supporting Dubai’s remarkable growth and development, ensuring that tourists continue to experience its unique charm while contributing to its ongoing progress. Keep reading for a comprehensive breakdown of Dubai’s tourist fee and tax for 2023, presented by Wego.
Table of Contents
Dubai tourist fee and tax 2023
The UAE has implemented a tourism tax aimed at bolstering the expansion of its trade and tourism sectors. This tax is applicable to travelers who stay in a variety of accommodations, including hotels, hotel apartments, restaurants, and resorts.
In the UAE, establishments such as restaurants, hotels, hotel apartments, and resorts have the authority to levy one or more of the following taxes:
- tax on the room rate – 10 percent
- service charge – 10 percent
- municipality fees – 10 percent
- city tax – 6 to 10 percent
- tourism fee – 6 percent
Please note that Dubai’s hotels additionally impose a ‘Tourism Dirham Fee’ per room per night, applicable for up to 30 consecutive nights of occupancy. The fee varies between AED 7 and 20, depending on the hotel’s category or grade.
Dubai tourist fee and tax hotel
The Dubai tourist tax landscape remains dynamic, undergoing periodic adjustments. According to various sources, the current breakdown of the Dubai tourist tax applied to hotels is as follows:
- Value Added Tax (VAT) – 5 percent
- municipality fee – 7 percent
- property service charge – 10 percent
As previously noted, Dubai’s hotels apply a ‘Tourism Dirham Fee’ for each room occupied per night, applicable for a maximum of 30 consecutive nights. The fee varies, spanning from AED 7 to 20, contingent upon the specific category or grade of the hotel. This fee is commonly referred to as either the hotel tax or the city tax.
Dubai tourist fee and tax liquor
For non-Muslim tourists in Dubai, access to alcohol is permitted, with an associated tax. However, recent online sources indicate that Dubai has taken a significant step by suspending a 30 percent tax on alcohol. Additionally, the requirement for a license fee, previously mandatory for purchasing alcohol in the commercial and tourism hub, has been eliminated.
This strategic move is primarily intended to enhance Dubai’s attractiveness to tourists and expatriate residents, who are drawn to its comparatively more liberal lifestyle in contrast to other Gulf cities. The reduction in tax was implemented in January 2023 and is reported to be in effect as a trial for a one-year period.
Dubai tourist tax refund
Visitors and tourists exploring Dubai have the privilege to reclaim the Value Added Tax (VAT) paid on their purchases during their stay in the UAE. This reimbursement process is seamlessly executed through an integrated electronic platform that links retailers enrolled in the ‘Tax Refund for Tourists Scheme’ with all entry and exit points of the UAE.
In January 2018, the Federal Tax Authority (FTA) introduced a 5 percent VAT, and by the last quarter of 2018, they launched a fully digital tax-free shopping service, enabling tourists to apply for a VAT refund since that year. The system is administered by Planet, the exclusive operator of the tourist tax refund system, under the oversight of FTA.
Typically, most well-known stores are participants in this scheme, and tourists can secure their refunds upon departure via land, sea, or air travel. However, to be eligible for VAT refunds, tourists need to meet the following criteria:
- the traveller must be at least 18 years old
- purchases must be made from a retailer actively engaged in the ‘Tax Refund for Tourists’ program
- goods are not excluded from the refund scheme of the FTA
- the traveller must physically present the tax invoice, ‘tax-free’ tags and relevant goods
Please note that refunds are not applicable in the following cases:
- items that have been fully or partially consumed within the UAE
- goods that are not in the traveler’s possession upon exiting the country
How to shop tax-free?
Exploring tax-free shopping in Dubai is straightforward. Follow these steps to make the most of this opportunity:
- while shopping, tourists can request a tax-free purchase, applicable for expenditures of AED 250 or more
- the visitor’s valid travel document will be scanned for integration into the payment system
- the shop assistant will utilize the Planet system to record the visitor’s details
- a ‘tax-free’ tag will be affixed to the back of the sales receipt by the shop assistant
- a digital tax-free form will be generated
- the traveler should ensure validation of the transaction at the airport within 90 days from the date of purchase
Please refer to the Official Portal of the UAE Government for more details on VAT refunds for tourists.