Hoteliers in the picturesque seaside town of Cascais are in uproar over plans approved by local tourism association ATC to start charging all incoming holidaymakers a €1.50 tourist tax.
Quite apart from it being excessive (council tourist taxes, when charged, tend to be just €1), holiday sector operators fear the move will simply spur travellers into choosing to stay elsewhere.
Neighbouring boroughs of Sintra and Oeiras, for example, do not charge any kind of tourist tax.
But, according to ATC thinking, the move could bring as much as €1.8 million flooding into local coffers, and last year was a “bumper year” for the number of ‘tourists staying overnight in the borough’.
“Almost 500,000 were registered”, reports Diário de Notícias – stressing the other issue in this wrangle, is that the mayor of Cascais is also the president of the tourism association.
Thus, the thought of all that extra cash flooding into borough coffers, could be clouding his better judgement.
Indeed, hoteliers complain that not only were they not consulted before the plan was approved, there appears to be no clear picture of how all the extra money generated will be used.
In Lisbon, for example, tourist tax income goes into a fund to develop tourism.
Hoteliers are now seriously pondering pulling out of ATC, in a bid to force it to reconsider.