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Advantages of spending holidays in an “AL”

A new study by HomeAway reveals why Portuguese nationals prefer using Local Lodging for their vacations. For 79.5% of the respondents, choosing an “AL” accommodation is based on the possibility to prepare meals, thus making significant savings in the overall holiday budget. 70.2% of respondents prefer the scheduling flexibility and the ability to plan their vacation days without rigid time restrictions. In turn, 65% indicate that they can enjoy more space for leisure activities. 51.5% of holidaymakers appreciate the privacy and tranquility (as compared to 37.2% in hotels).

“AL” accommodations continue to multiply

Local Lodging accommodated one third of visitors to Portugal in 2017, an annualised increase of almost 29%, according to ALEP (Association of Local Lodging in Portugal). As of July 2018, there are currently more than 72,000 Local Lodging establishments registered nationwide.

INE presents 2017 “AL” statistics

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.

Half of “AL” establishments in Oporto belong to companies

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.

Whistle-blowers help Tax Authorities recover unpaid “AL” taxes

Reporting possible tax evasion in Local Lodging and failure to issue invoices by merchants allowed the Portuguese Revenue to collect an additional €1,000,000 in 2017. The anti-fraud division of the “AT” received and analysed 2,618 complaints and accusations of which 2,153 were made by other public entities, and 465 came from complaints by private individuals.

Two-year moratorium on new AL changes

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).

Upcoming changes in Local Lodging legislation

Recent legislative reforms have created tighter rules for operators of Local Lodging establishments. Under the new regulations, Councils will have a say in setting occupancy quotas within their municipalities. Condominiums can launch complaints regarding “AL” based disturbances and misuse in their buildings. (more…)

Local quotas proposed for short-term holiday lets

Upcoming legislation, designed to regulate Local Lodging, is likely to include measures intended to counteract the “Disneyfication” of historic city centres. According to the current Socialist Party proposals, the imposition of quotas on a selective basis is “an admissible model” that should give a “relevant role to municipalities”. Since 2012, “AL” registrations have skyrocketed nationally from 7,533 to 58,252, a more than 7-fold jump. The increase in Lisbon during this period has been over 400%, primarily in the historic neighbourhoods.

43% of business travellers use “AL” accommodations

More than four out of ten enterprises follow the trend of leisure tourists and choose Local Lodging for company travel, as revealed in a recent study by the Travelstore American Express. The survey shows that businesses are increasingly confident and express willingness to invest more in travel to Portugal over the course of 2018.

Eight EU cities unite against online AL platforms

Representatives from eight cities protested against the rules applicable to holiday letting platforms, advocating more transparent regulation. The municipalities of the cities of Barcelona, Madrid, Brussels, Paris, Krakow, Vienna, Reykjavik and Amsterdam subscribed to the declaration sent to the EU Commission. City officials stated that online tourist letting platforms such as Airbnb and Booking.com should be obliged to share data with regulators. Currently, these internet booking services permit the anonymity of listing owners of properties as well as of the holidaymakers who let them, exacerbating pressures that the recent invasion of mass tourism places on the infrastructure of these municipalities.

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