“After approval by almost all municipalities [Algarve], Faro is now starting to charge this fee, to mitigate the impact of tourism on the area and to make the city more pleasant, thus attracting more tourists,” said Carlos Baía, councillor of Faro Ministry of Tourism.
The official revealed that the estimate of the amount to be collected this year “takes into account the normal values of overnight stays” provided by the National Statistics Institute (INE), adding that the fee will be charged “only between 1 March and 31 October”.
The fee will be charged per person and for each day spent in hotels and local accommodation in the municipality, however, a limit of seven days is foreseen, so that, “if someone stays 10 nights, they only pay the first seven”.
Children and young people up to the age of 13, national or foreign students from the University of Algarve (up to 60 consecutive days), people performing medical acts (and a companion) and people with at least 60 percent disability are exempt from payment, he added .
The application of the amount collected by the fee serves, in general terms, to “mitigate the effects that tourism has on the territory, improve the city and make it more attractive and pleasant for visitors”, said Carlos Baía.
In concrete terms, the funds will be used in areas related to tourism, public space and facilities and cultural activities, namely, in the “requalification of the riverfront and downtown, improvements to the Municipal Museum of Faro and the Teatro Lethes, or creating a circuit accessible to people with reduced mobility in Vila Adentro”, he illustrated.
Following the experience of other municipalities that have already implemented the fee, the municipality created a platform where tour operators register the information on overnight stays at the end of each month, “automatically generating a cash reference for payment”.
Despite the need for active action on the part of operators in the registration of data, Carlos Baía underlined that there was a concern that “the mechanism was as simple as possible”.
This measure covers the 19 tourist developments and the almost 800 establishments in the municipality licensed under the National Register of Local Accommodation.
Carlos Baía recalled that Faro started the process after the approval by the Intermunicipal Community of Algarve (AMAL), in September 2018, on the basis of the introduction of a tourist tax in the 16 municipalities of the Algarve.
The measure, which “follows the trend of other tourist destinations”, may be applied after approval by the respective municipal assemblies, and in the Algarve, only the municipality of Silves announced that it would not apply the tax.