The holiday accommodation platform, Airbnb, is interested in offering long-term lets to help its customers base find homes to live in. This initiative builds on the company’s already existing experience. Since 2011, Airbnb has included a sub-lease section on its website in more than 5,000 cities, listing houses and apartments for rent by the month.
“Turismo de Portugal” has set ambitious goals for the coming decade, following a 17% jump in tourism in January:
- a) A 4% annual increase, thereby doubling overnight stays by 2027;
- b) Reduce seasonality by one third by increasing off-season offerings over the same period;
- c) Boost training and qualifications of hotel and restaurant personnel;
- d) Bolster national approval for tourism to 90% of the population;
- e) Enhance conservation and appreciation of Portugal’s cultural and national heritage;
- f) Strengthen competitiveness and innovation;
- g) Improve qualifications and inclusion of activities and residents.
Tourism already represents 17% of gross domestic product and the view is optimistic for on-going growth and improvement.
According to latest estimates (February 2017), there are now over 33,700 Local Lodging establishments in Portugal. Of these, the overwhelming majority – more than 77% – are concentrated in the Algarve, according to “Confidencial Imobiliário”.
The assembly of a Lisbon condominium prohibited local lodging activity in its building. The fraction in question was intended for residential housing but was being used for commercial purposes. Numerous problems gave rise to complaints. Loss of privacy in common areas, excessive noise at night and poor use of the pool were some of the problems. The decision was upheld by the Lisbon Court of Appeals.
The number of listings available for local lodging grew by 385% since the new law came into effect in November 2014, according to a report by AHP (the Hotel Association of Portugal). At that time, just 6,000 properties were registered for short-term stays. Today, that figure has multiplied to 29,000.
There are more houses being sold today but high prices in central urban areas are pushing buyers out to the suburbs. Simultaneously, rentals are in decline. Letting accounted for 60% of real estate activity at the height of the crisis but has fallen sharply in the last two years. In 2016, lets accounted for just 25% of housing turnovers.
Those who live and work in Lisbon like tourists who visit the Portuguese capital. More than 90% of the population favours the presence of tourists. In addition, the contribution of tourism to the economic activity of the Lisbon Region is significant. In 2015 it amounted to 8.4 billion euros, corresponding to an average annual growth of 8% over the previous 10 years according to a survey by Intercampus and Deloitte Studies.
Cascais began charging a Tourist Tax of €1.00 per night as of 01 February 2017. The City Council estimates a minimum first year income of €1.2 million. Initially the proposed charge was to be €1.50, but the final levy was set at €1.00 per night, up to a maximum of five nights.
In 2016, the 1.6 million inhabitants of Barcelona were “overwhelmed” by more than 32 million tourists who “overloaded the city”. The City Council has approved legislation to limit the influx of tourists after more than 25 years of intense promotion of the city as a tourist destination. The plan will only have an impact after 2019. The tourism industry opposes the new plan, which says that the legislation “demonizes tourists.”
Lisbon, the city that pioneered the levy in Portugal, charges 1 euro on each night in the capital. The assessment brought more than 11 million euros to Lisbon in just 10 months. Vila Real de Santo António and Cascais are set to follow the example in 2017. Porto also contemplates launching a Tourist Tax but only as of 2018. Aveiro attempted to implement the measure in 2013, but a year later, suspended the fee.