Popular holiday destination in Portugal to introduce tourist tax

A popular destination in Portugal’s Algarve region is due to introduce a tourist tax to minimise the impact of tourism.

Olhão will be the third municipality in the region to charge a tax as Faro and Vila Real de Santo Antonio already do so.

Olhão will charge tourists two euros (£1.74) per night during peak season, from April to October.

Tourists will be charged one euro (87p) per night during the rest of the year when the Algarve is quieter.

The town’s mayor, Antonio Pina, told local news agency Lusa that “the tourist tax is a contribution that tourists leave behind to minimise their impact”.

The new tax will be charged up to a maximum of five nights, so the highest amount paid by any tourist will be 10 euros (£8.69).

Children aged under 16 will be exempt from the tax so family holidays shouldn’t be hit by the new move.

The mayor said that children are exempt from the tax as the region is particularly popular with families.

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He added that half of the tax’s proceeds would be used to minimise the impact of tourists and increase safety in the area.

Some of the money will be used to promote tourism in the region while some will be used to maintain essential services.

Faro’s tourist tax was launched in 2019 but suspended during the Covid pandemic. It was relaunched in 2022 and children under 13 are exempt.

Although tourist taxes can be controversial, they are common across Europe and often used to bring in extra income.

Officials in Barcelona have said they plan to raise the city’s current tourist tax for cruise tourists who are considered to have a sizable impact on the destination.

The Balearic Islands also charge a tax while Manchester recently became the first English destination to introduce a tourist tax.

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