A proposal by the Algarve Municipalities Association (AMAL) for a regional tourist tax is “back on the table”, according to António Pina, Mayor of Olhao and AMAL President.
The idea is for a daily levy of €2, applied to all adult visitors and children over 12 years old, for a maximum of seven days, in more areas of the Algarve. Currently, only Faro and Vila Real de Santo António charge a fee. AMAL is proposing the charges begin next year.
AMAL is seeking consensus from other municipalities to introduce this tax, but it will be the decision of individual authorities.
“We will first talk to tourism partners, but the intention is to apply it with the same value for all municipalities,” said Pina. However, not all municipalities agree with the proposal, in particular the Silves Chamber, which ‘opposes its collection’.
Pina explained: “The decision is not AMAL's, it is for each of the municipalities. AMAL only tries to agree on the criteria for its application, but if there are municipalities that do not apply the tax, they do not apply it.”
How the charge compares to existing ones
The charges in Faro and Vila Real de Santo António are less than the proposed charge by AMAL, which is equivalent to the charge in the Lisbon.
Faro introduced its tax in March 2020, but it was suspended due to the Covid-19 pandemic – it was reinstated in March 2022. The tourist tax is charged at a rate of €1.50 per person, per night, up to seven days. Some are exempt, such as children up to 13 years old and those with disabilities. The municipality also only charges people staying in the area between 1 March and 31 October.
In Vila Real de Santo António, each person over the age of 10 must pay €1 per night staying in the area, up to seven nights. However, children aged between 11 and 13 receive a 50 per cent discount. This charge was introduced in 2019, making it the first municipality in the region to tax tourists.