Algarve calls for common tourist tax across region

  • Lusa
  • 12 October 2022

The president of the Algarve Intermunicipal Community called for the application of a municipal tourist tax "with a value that is common" across the entire region.

The president of the Algarve Intermunicipal Community (AMAL), António Pina, called on Tuesday for the application, from 2023, of a municipal tourist tax “with a value that is common” across the entire region.

“In 2019, it was decided to move forward with the application of the tourist tax, but that intention was cancelled because of Covid-19, but we consider that it is time to return to its application, with a common value across the region,” the mayor of Olhão told Lusa.

According to António Pina, the collection of a tourist tax in the region – which is already applied in Faro and Vila Real de Santo António -is back “on the table”. However, it “will only be applied after talks with all partners in the tourism sector”.

“We will first talk to the tourism partners, but the intention is to apply it with the same amount for all municipalities”, he stressed, adding that there is no unanimity among the Algarve municipalities, namely on the part of Silves, whose executive “opposes its collection”.

“The decision is not AMAL’s, it is each of the municipalities’. AMAL is only trying to reach a consensus on the criteria for its application, but if there are municipalities that decide not to apply the tax, they don’t apply it”, saidthe president of the organisation that includes the Algarve’s 16 municipalities.

According to António Pina, the collection of a municipal tax for each overnight stay in tourist establishments in the municipalities could lead to “some joint measures being considered by the municipalities and applied in the Algarve”.

“We are considering the creation of a regional fund that could be used to promote the region, as well as replenishing beaches with sand, or even issues related to Civil Protection,” he said.

The local authority also said that the value “has not yet been defined” but argued that “two euros would be a fair value, similar to what happens in the municipality of Lisbon”.

“The issue is still being discussed and, in my opinion, there should be a unanimous value to be applied next year”, concluded António Pina.

Speaking to Lusa, the mayor of Portimão, one of the Algarve’s most touristic municipalities, said she intends to go ahead with the implementation of the tax and was “fully in agreement” with a value of two euros per person and per overnight stay.

“It is a fallacy to say that with the payment of the tax, fewer tourists will come”, Isilda Gomes said.

Currently, Faro and Vila Real de Santo António are the only councils in the Algarve where a tourist tax is being charged, with Vila Real de Santo António being the first council in the region to go ahead with the tax in 2019.

In Faro, the fee was implemented in March 2020 but suspended the very next month due to the covid-19 pandemic and resumed in March 2022.

At €1.5 per night and per guest – although there are exceptions – the tourist tax in Faro is charged from March to October, only for the first seven days of stay.

The tourist tax is a value defined and approved by the municipal executives and ratified by the municipal assemblies, applied per night stay to guests of accommodation and tourist resorts, with a limit of nights.

However, there are exemptions from payment attributed by the municipalities and which apply to children up to the age of 12 and people with a degree of disability equal to or greater than 60%.