Tourists in the Algarve region of Portugal will start paying a €2 tax per night, with this measure becoming effective in the upcoming days.
Local media in Portugal report that the €2 tax is applicable during the summer season and is expected to raise up to €300,000 annually, while during the low season, including the period between November and March, the fee will be €1 per night, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
Some exemptions do apply to visitors, such as children under 16 and those that spent more than five nights in the designated accommodation spot. This indicates that each tourist will pay a maximum of €10 euros, considering these criteria.
“The tourist tax is a contribution that tourists leave in the local area to minimise their footprint”, Algarve’s mayor, António Miguel Pina, noted.
According to Mayor Pina, this decision has been implemented in an effort to set apart the tourist profile of those that always pick this local area to spend their vacations, which usually are families with children.
The municipality approved the measure last month, and once it is published in the Diario de Republica, it will start applying. This makes Olhao the third municipality in the region to charge tourists for night stays, falling behind Vila Real de Santo Antonio and Faro.
The Algarve Intermunicipal Community (AMAL) had already given the green light to the application of an identical tourist tax of €2, considering proposals made by the two largest hotel associations in the region as well as the Algarve Tourism Board (RTA).
The Camara de Olhao plans to utilise 50 per cent of the revenues accumulated from the new fee to “minimise the effects of tourist pressure, namely in terms of cleanliness and increased security”.
Recently, accommodation owners have protested in Lisbon, expressing distress over the new legislative package, which includes measures such as the forced leasing of vacant houses and the suspension of new local accommodation licenses.
While the country has experienced a robust recovery of tourism, it is expected to be dealing with strikes, which are scheduled for the upcoming weekends of May and June.
More specifically, the inspectors at Foreigners and Border Services (SEF) protested for five hours – from 5 am to 10 am on the weekend, and noted that the industrial action would continue on the upcoming weekends, but it didn’t intend to interfere with flights’ schedule.
Inspectors are protesting for the future of SEF service, which is jeopardised after the Government approved, on April 6, the decree-law establishing the transition regime for SEF workers following the restructuring process.