Some weeks ago, the intermunicipal community of the Algarve (AMAL – Comunidade Intermunicipal do Algarve) agreed on the introduction of a region-wide tourist tax, although details have not yet been decided.
As it seems, out of the 16 councils, only Silves voted against the introduction of a tourist tax in the Algarve.
Several entities such as the Portuguese hotel association (AHP – Associação da Hotelaria de Portugal), the association of commerce and services of the Algarve (ACRAL – Associação do Comércio e Serviços da Região do Algarve) and the Algarve’s largest hotel association (AHETA – Associação dos Hotéis e Empreendimentos Turísticos do Algarve) have already expressed their disagreement with the introduction of this tax, arguing that it will have a negative impact on the competitiveness of the region as a tourist destination.
Since Porto and Lisbon already charge a similar tax, of €1 per tourist, per night, to a maximum of a seven night consecutive stay, it is most likely that it will also be implemented in the Algarve, although it is not a short city-break destination like the two major Portuguese cities.
This shows us once again that regardless of the economic situation, political bodies are always very creative when it comes to finding new ways of increasing tax revenue rather than analysing the needs of (and differences within) a region in order to develop a sustainable socioeconomic model which benefits the region as a whole and improves its competitiveness.