At a late-night session of the assembly, members gave the green light to the city executive’s plan for a Municipal Tourist Tax of €2 per night for all guests aged over 13.
Two alternative proposals were rejected: a Communist proposal for a tax of €1 per overnight stay, and a Socialist pitch for the tax to be applied only to guests aged at least 18.
According to the resolution, the tax is to take effect on 1 March of next year, but is not to be applied to reservations made before that date. It is to be levied per night, “up to a maximum of seven consecutive nights per person, or stay” independent of whether the reservation is made in person, by phone or online.
The tax is to be levied per guest aged at least 13, “including the day of their birthday, independent of their place of residence” – in other words, residents of Portugal are also liable. Only guests whose stay is for reasons of medical treatment are not liable, along with a companion, or guests with a disability classed at 60 percent or over.
Porto mayor, Rui Moreira, explained that the proceeds from the new tax are to be used to reduce the “tourist footprint” in the city, noting that the increase in visitor numbers in recent years has greatly added to the pressure on public infrastructure and urban space in general.
He noted that the municipality of Vila Nova de Gaia, just over the River Douro, which is run by a Socialist administration, is also to introduce a tourist tax, as part of a “metropolitan vision” for the Greater Porto area.
Lisbon has had a tourist tax, of €1 per guest per night, in place since the beginning of 2016. The tax is also levied on every incoming air passenger.