Algarve proposes tourist tax

By Neal Baldwin
Home » Algarve proposes tourist tax

The Algarve is poised to introduce a €2 per night tourist tax for 2023.

Tourism bosses across the region are keen to revive a plan that was originally approved back in 2019 but was then put on hold because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Local government group the Intermunicipal Community of the Algarve (AMAL) is pushing to levy a set rate across the 16 regions that make up Portugal’s popular southern coast.

It wants a common €2 per person per night charge, up to a maximum of €14 (or seven nights), which is the same as a tax charged on tourists visiting capital Lisbon. Children under 12 would be exempt, meaning the tax would add €56 to the holiday price for a typical family of four with two teenage kids.

At present, the only regions of the Algarve to tax tourists are Faro and Vila Real de Santo António, but both have a cheaper charge.

Speaking to local news outlets, AMAL president António Pina said: “In 2019, it was decided to move forward with the application of the tourist tax, ending that intention because it was suspended because of the pandemic, but we believe that it is time to return to its application, with a value common to all.

“We will first talk to tourism partners, but the intention is to apply it with the same value for all municipalities. The issue is still being discussed and, in my opinion, the fee should be the same across the region and come into force next year.”

Mr Pina explained that the money raised would create a regional fund that could be used to promote the Algarve, maintain its beaches and pay for resort cleaning, and go towards civil protection measures such as combatting wildfires.

If introduced, the tax could apply year-round. AMAL believes it could raise in excess of €30m each year.

However, there is significant opposition to the tax from local hoteliers and tourism businesses. Algarve Tourism Board President João Fernandes said: “It does not seem like the best time to be returning to this topic, having just emerged from a two-year crisis of losses and with a new year approaching filled with uncertainties.”

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