According to the National Statistics Institute (INE)*, Portugal received 3.4 million Local Lodging guests in 2017 (+29%), and 8 million overnight stays (+26.7%), generating €263 million in total revenues (+27.6%). The number of overnight stays increased in all regions, most significantly in the Center (+42.3%), Greater Lisbon (+31.4%), Madeira (+22.5%) and the North (+25.2%). The average Local Lodging stay was 2.35 nights (-1.6%), with longer stays in Madeira (4.80 nights), Algarve (3.23 nights) and Lisbon (2.37 nights). Germany was the tourist largest market (+27.4%), followed by the French, British and Spanish (+22.3%, +20.9% and +31.5%, respectively). There were also significant increases from Poland (+79.8%), the United States (+64.8%) and Brazil (+54.6%).
* INE only counts “AL” offerings with more than 10 beds. Following this criteria, there were only 2,663 “AL” establishments in Portugal in 2017. According to the Ministry of Tourism, “AL” registrations currently total over 85,000. While the INE numbers may be inaccurate, these statistics can still prove useful on a relative basis.
A study carried out by the movement “Oporto is not for sale” reveals that, among the 6,198 Local Lodging registrations in Portugal’s second largest city, 51.3% are enrolled by companies. The leading company holds 70 properties while there are 84 “AL” enterprises exceeding the legal limit of 7 registrations.
Thus far this summer, ASAE has carried out 610 raids on Tourist Enterprises and Local Lodging establishments throughout Portugal. The operation led to the suspension of three “AL” operations for non-compliance with hygiene requirements. The investigating teams instituted 111 administrative actions and a criminal proceeding, primarily for infractions regarding non-registration of a tourist activity.
Local Lodging is not the only type of tourist facility to grow in 2017. Hotels, aparthotels and rural hotels as well as tourist villages, apartments and inns also displayed dynamic results with more new units opening and record occupancy rates last year. In the case of “AL”, the majority of the increase is due to registrations of pre-existing units.
Porto’s Municipal Tourist Tax only began to be applied in April 2018, but the results from the first three months of collection point to annual revenues 50% above initial estimates. By the end of the year, the municipality currently expects to raise over €9,000,000.
Several new regulations mandated in the latest Local Lodging review permit a two-year abeyance in enforcement to existing units where an “AL” activity has already been approved. This extended implementation period applies in the following situations:
- Condominium charges can increase by up to 30% when justified by collective encroachment;
- Multi-risk insurance and liability coverage is required for all Local Lodging operators;
- The entrance to a Local Lodging unit must have an “AL” identification plaque;
- Expenses for construction work carried out in common areas to adapt or license a property under “AL” are to be borne by the owner of the Local Lodging unit.
Other alterations to legal requirements in the most recent legislation come into effect in early October (two months following ratification).
The European authorities require Airbnb to make changes to its operations. The company has until the end of August to present solutions. Greater transparency regarding costs and the conditions for cancellation of the accommodation by the owner are among the requirements.