Loulé to launch €1 tourist tax to replenish beaches

Loulé council has announced plans to launch a tourist tax in 2019. The measure will involve charging €1 per overnight stay which will go into an ‘Environmental Sustainability and Tourism Fund’ to help replenish sand on the borough’s beaches.

The council hopes to rack up around €2.5 million every year to ensure that rising sea levels do not become a threat to the borough’s tourism sector. The money could also be used to repair damage caused by fires and floods.

The announcement was made by mayor Vítor Aleixo at the sixth national Blue Flag seminar held last week in Vilamoura.

According to Público newspaper, studies carried out four years ago as part of the Change project predict that the sea will eventually rise into areas like downtown Quarteira and Vilamoura marina.

In order to ensure some beaches in the Algarve aren’t lost to the sea, artificial replenishing must be carried out every 10 years, the same studies found.

Faced with all these forecasts, Aleixo said it is time to “stop talking and do something”.

Speaking to Sulinformação, he said the levy would not weigh heavily on tourists but could be “decisive in facing extreme climate changes”.

He added that, over the next year, the council will be looking at ways to implement the tax and that he expects that the hotel and tourism sectors will accept the measure given the reason for which it will be implemented.

Vítor Aleixo is also the chairman of a group known as the Network of Municipalities for the Adaptation to Climate Change, which is made up of about 30 councils that got together last week at the Vilamoura seminar to discuss this issue.

The news came just days after the Resident wrote about a proposal from the Bloco de Esquerda (BE) to implement a tourist tax that would generate revenue to compensate the state for abolishing the Algarve’s A22 motorway tolls (click here).

Tourist taxes have long been a contentious issue in the Algarve. As readers may recall, a tourist tax was due to be implemented at the start of this year in Vila Real de Santo António, but the idea was eventually scrapped due to fierce opposition from hoteliers.

In 2012, the Algarve Municipalities Association (AMAL) also approved the creation of a region-wide tourist tax which would be implemented by whichever borough thought it would be beneficial, but the measure was also scrapped following disagreement from hoteliers.

The tax was also discussed in Portimão in 2009 but the plan never moved forward.

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