The President of the Executive Commission of the Algarve’s Regional Tourist Board says he is against the introduction of a tourist tax as currently practised in Lisbon.
João Fernandes, of the Região de Turismo do Algarve (RTA) says he regrets the announced introduction of the tourist tax in the Algarve making his views publicly known on Friday to the Algarve Intermunicipal Community (AMAL).
He was not only in disagreement with the taxes’ application but also the timing as well as the model chosen.
The opposition by João Fernandes has been backed up by the presidents of the Algarve Hotel Association (AHETA) and the Algarve Hotel Industry Association (AIHSA), the two most important and representative tourism accommodation associations in the region.
On the tax, João Fernandes said it was “the wrong decision” that has arisen during the downturn in terms of tourist demand which could lead to a lack of competitiveness in the Algarve region as a tourist destination.
“The tourist tax does not factor in the reality of the competition since only the Balearic Islands, Catalunya and Tunisia practice such taxes and this announcement has come at a time when the Algarve’s competing destinations such as Greece, Turkey, Tunisia and Egypt are recovering, with the latter three not being subject to European competition rules so practising much more aggressive pricing policies,” he said.
Furthermore, João Fernandes added, “We are facing the end of the Brexit process which has already reduced the purchasing power of the British due to the devaluation of Pound Sterling against the Euro with its knock-on effect for the Algarve’s main market of origin for tourists.”
On the other hand, “The Algarve as a tourist destination still has to adjust to the reality of the bankruptcy of airlines like Monarch, Air Berlin and Niki Airlines which secured the region’s link to its main overseas markets like the UK and Germany.”
The tax has already attracted the attention of the UK’s Sun newspaper which writes, “it is still unclear how much tourists will have to fork out and when the tax will be implemented.”
Nearly four out of every 10 foreign tourists in the Algarve are British and over a million Brits stayed in hotels or guesthouses in the area in 2017. In Lisbon the tax is €1 per night.