Photo: Bruno Filipe Pires/Open Media

Olhão to become third Algarve borough to charge tourist tax

€2 to be charged per night between April and October

Olhão is due to become very soon the third municipality to charge a tourist tax in the Algarve.

The borough will be charging €2 per night during the high season (April to October) and €1 during the rest of the year (November to March).

The measure is expected to generate around €300,000 per year for the borough, said Olhão mayor António Pina.

The tourist tax is a contribution that tourists leave behind to minimise their impact,” Pina told Lusa news agency.

The measure was approved by Olhão council in April and is due to be published in the state newspaper Diário da República very soon, after which it will begin being charged.

Olhão will follow in the footsteps of Faro and Vila Real de Santo António, the only Algarve municipalities that already charge a tourist tax.

In Olhão, the tax will be charged up to a maximum of five nights, meaning that each tourist will pay a maximum of €10 (during the high season) or €5 (during the low season). Children aged under 16 will be exempt.

As mayor Pina explained, the exemption was based on the profile of tourists who visit the borough, most of them being families with children.

Half of the proceeds from the tourist tax will be used to “minimise the effects of touristic pressure, namely in terms of cleaning and increasing safety,” Pina said.

He added that the council is also “available” to attribute 10% of proceeds to the Algarve’s promotional tourism initiatives and another 10% to projects carried out by AMAL, which represents the region’s 16 municipalities.

The first borough to introduce a tourist tax in the Algarve was Vila Real de Santo António in 2018.

The goal of the tax, which is charged all-year-round, was to help cover the “maintenance of municipal equipment and infrastructures for tourists and residents, such as the sports complex,” and to help finance the municipality’s “participation in international fairs to promote the borough and its potential.”

In VRSA, €1 is charged per day up to a maximum of seven days at tourist establishments such as hotels, resorts, tourist apartments, rural hotels and local lodgings, and 50 cents per day at camping sites and motorhome parks.

A tourist tax was introduced in Faro in 2019 but suspended shortly after due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It was resumed in 2022, with the borough charging tourists €1.5 per night between March and October up to a maximum of seven nights per stay. Children aged 13 and under are exempt.

By Michael Bruxo

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