The municipality of Faro will begin on Sunday to charge a tourist tax in the amount of 1.5 euros per night, with the expectation of raising 500 thousand euros throughout 2020, a councillor from the municipality revealed to Lusa today.
“After approval by almost all municipalities in the Algarve, Faro will now be starting to charge this fee to mitigate the negative impact of tourism on the territory and make the city more pleasant, thus attracting more tourists,” said Carlos Baía, a councillor working alongside the Ministry of Tourism. The official revealed that the estimate of the amount to be collected this year “takes into account the normal numbers ??of overnight stays” provided by the National Statistics Institute (INE), adding that the fee will be charged “only between March 1st and October 31st”.
The fee will be charged per person and for each overnight stay in local hotels and accommodation in the municipality, however, a limit of seven days is foreseen, that is, “if someone stays 10 nights, they only pay the tourist tax for the first seven” he exemplified.
Children and young people up to the age of 13, national or foreign students from the University of Algarve (studying up to 60 consecutive days), people performing medical work, and people with a disability will be exempt from payment, he added. The application of the amount collected by the fee serves, in general terms, to “mitigate the effects that tourism has on the territory, improve the city and make it more attractive and pleasant to visitors”, he explained. In concrete terms, the funds will be used in areas related to tourism, in public spaces and facilities, and for cultural activities, namely, in the “renovation of the riverfront and downtown, improvements in the Municipal Museum of Faro, and the Teatro Lethes, and creating a circuit accessible to people with reduced mobility in Vila Adentro ”, he illustrated.
Following the experience of other municipalities that have already implemented the fee, the municipality created a platform where tour operators register the information on overnight stays at the end of each month, “automatically generating a cash reference for payment”.
Despite the need for active action on the part of operators in the registration of data, Carlos Baía underlined that there was a concern on the side of those implementing to new measure to ensure that “the mechanism is as simple as possible”. This measure covers 19 tourist developments and the almost 800 establishments in the municipality licensed under the National Register of Local Accommodation.
The municipality guarantees that these funds “will not enter” in the revenue of establishments and that, in the case of companies, “is already accounted for in their accounts”. In the case of an individual entrepreneur, the platform gives the possibility to “issue a declaration” that proves that payment to the tourist, “without the value having to enter the operator’s revenues”, clarified the councilman.
Mr. Baía recalled that Faro began the process of implementing the tourist tax after it was approved by the Intermunicipal Community of the Algarve (AMAL) in September 2018, which allowed for the introduction of a tourist tax in the 16 municipalities of the Algarve. The measure, which “follows the trend of other tourist destinations”, can be applied after approval by the respective municipal assemblies, and in the Algarve, only the municipality of Silves has announced that it would not apply the tax.