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In an interview with the “Jornal de Negócios” and “Antena 1“, the president of the Pestana group, José Theotónio, declared that: “Airbnb, Local Lodging and hostels are all welcome. They represent competition but are necessary to build Portugal as a cosmopolitan and sustainable tourist destination.” This statement signals a significant turn-around in the tradition hostility voiced by the hotel industry towards peer-to-peer holiday lettings.
As of 01 July, online letting platforms such as AirBnB and Booking can only list properties duly licensed in the National Tourist Registry. The obligation to enroll is part of a simplex initiative known as “Simpler Tourist Licenses”. With the new regulation, the Government intends to avoid unfair competition between property owners and tour operators as well as strengthen compliance.
Excess competition coupled with controversies surrounding Local Lodging are beginning to affect prices and occupancy rates. While registrations were still up in 2016, the pace has diminished substantially which slowed from 200% in 2015 to just 8% last year.