Faro Council to rake in €500,000 with new “tourist tax”

Faro Council to rake in €500,000 with new “tourist tax”

Faro Council will be implementing a new “tourist tax” in the municipality on Sunday, March 1 which is expected to generate around €500,000 for the local coffers.
The revenue will be channelled back into the local tourism sector, Faro Mayor Rogério Bacalhau told Barlavento newspaper.

The fee will be set at €1.50 per overnight stay/per person, up to a maximum of seven nights. It will only be charged between March and October, no matter when a guest books it.

Children up to the age of 13, students who are staying in Faro temporarily, people booked for medical tests or surgeries in the town, and people with disabilities are exempt from paying, the mayor told the paper.

There will be no distinction between foreigners and nationals or even municipal citizens – everyone will pay the same fee if they book a stay in the municipality.

Bacalhau said that the council has already held two meetings with local hotel operators to inform them about an online platform which will provide valuable information about the tourist tax. Included in the platform is a FAQ (frequently asked questions) document with information for hoteliers as well as a flyer to be distributed among holidaymakers with information in four languages.

Given that Faro is home to many local lodging (AL) establishments, the council is also working closely with ALEP (Portugal’s local lodging association) to ensure that the tourist charge is implemented without issues.

Hoteliers and AL owners will charge and collect the money, although the amount received will be handed over to the council each month. Owners will then receive a 2.5% reimbursement.

Bacalhau said the levy is expected to generate around €500,000, although it is a “mere estimate”.

The money will be invested in “areas linked to tourism, public spaces, infrastructure and cultural activities”, namely projects like the renovation of the riverside and downtown areas and improvements at the municipal museum and Lethes theatre.

The mayor added that the hotel sector has not reacted negatively to the levy, with most of the concerns raised being related to “operational aspects”.

Faro will become the second town in the Algarve to implement a tourist tax after Vila Real de Santo António, with other boroughs – excluding Silves – likely to follow suit after the idea was approved by the Algarve municipalities association (AMAL) in 2018 (click here).

Faro mayor said: “I know other municipalities are looking into charging a tourist tax, but I have no idea if any has actually started. I know Lagos and Portimão are expected to implement it soon.”

Those who would like to obtain more information about the tourist tax in Faro can send an email to [email protected].

Original article written by Bruno Filipe Pires for Barlavento newspaper.