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Portugal pioneers in Local Lodging

Innovation in the regulation of local lodging has made Portugal a case study. Short term holiday letting is an integral part of the current Portuguese tourism boom. Dilapidated heritage districts in Lisbon and Oporto have a new lease on life with private investment driving much needed restoration. As with any phenomenon of rapid and disorderly growth, distortions have emerged. But this should not be a pretext to kill the chicken that lays the golden egg.

Long term lets continue to rise in Lisbon

Living in Lisbon is increasingly expensive. The tourist boom in recent years has triggered rental price hikes in the country’s capital. The latest study reveals that apartment leases rose 23% in 2016, to an average of €830 per month. In the Chiado district, purchase costs average €6,700 per square metre.

Airbnb generates more than one billion Euros in Portugal in 2016

The online hosting platform generated €1.07 billion in Portugal last year, almost half in Lisbon. Airbnb said that this figure accounts for “all the money that Airbnb guests spend during their stay as well as the amounts that hosts with ads on the platform earn in their hosting activity.”

Airbnb generates more than one billion Euros in Portugal in 2016

The online hosting platform generated €1.07 billion in Portugal last year, almost half in Lisbon. Airbnb said that this figure accounts for “all the money that Airbnb guests spend during their stay as well as the amounts that hosts with ads on the platform earn in their hosting activity.”

Local Lodging continues to grow in Lisbon and Porto

Lisbon and Porto saw the number of properties registered in the local housing increase by 3,400 and 1,300 respectively in 2016. In a new trend, the largest growth took place outside of the historical neighborhoods, where the supply doubled. Lisbon closed 2016 with 6,800 registrations, twice as many as it had in 2015. Of the 13,000 new registrations nationwide, many were due to legalization of irregular situations that already existed rather than brand-new offerings.

Local Lodging (“AL”) is the source of livelihood for 60% of Lisbon owners

In almost two-thirds of cases, Local Lodging (“Alojamento Local”) is the main economic activity for Lisbon homeowners who choose to let holiday accommodations to tourists. This is one of the conclusions of the study on “AL” offerings in the Portuguese capital that was developed by the Higher Institute of Labour and Business Sciences (ISCTE). According to the same study, almost 86% of “AL” offerings are in apartments.

Significant rise in Lisbon tourism

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.

Lisbon Tourist Tax yields €11 million in 10 months

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.

Tourist Tax – What tourists will pay in other European destinations

by our correspondent Dennis Swing Greene

Since January 2016, visitors to the Portuguese capital have to pay a Municipal Tourist Tax of €1 per person per night. Children under 13 and those seeking medical treatment are exempt. The levy only applies to the first seven nights. Scattered municipalities, such as O Porto and Cascais, are also considering a Tourist Tax on a similar basis to Lisbon.

Based on information from the European Tour Operators Association (ETOA), we will look at what tourist taxes are charged at popular holiday destinations around Europe beyond Portugal.

Austria

Tourists an overnight accommodation tax (including in caravans and campsites), which is charged according to each province. Called Tourismusgesetz and Beherbergungsbeiträge, the tourist levy ranges from €0.15 to €2.18 per person per night. Children under 15 are exempt.

Belgium

There are a range of tourism taxes varying by city. In Antwerp there is a fixed rate of €2.39 pp, per night for stays in hotels or €0.53 for campsites and camper van sites. Children under 12 are exempt. Bruges has a tourist tax of €2 pp, per night. In Ghent, the City Tax is €2.50 pp, per night. Brussels charges a City Tax per room, per year according to the borough, hotel size and hotel classification. For example, the levy is €7.50 per room, per night at the Brussels Novotel.

France

France has the ‘Taxe de Sejour’ which is charged per person, per night and varies according to the quality and standard of the accommodation. The rates range from €0.20 to €4 per person, per night. Children under 18 are exempt.

Germany

Kulturförderabgabe (Culture Tax) or Bettensteuer (Bed Tax) are charges in Germany. The taxes range from €0.25 to €5 per person, per night or 5% of the room bill depending on the type of accommodation, room rate and location. In Berlin, the charge is 5% of the room rate, capped at 21 successive days. However, business travellers are exempt from the tax.

Italy

Tourists pay a tax called “Tassa di soggiorno”. The charge varies from city to city, depending on a hotel’s rating, levied on a set number of nights. Children are usually exempt. In Rome, the tax ranges from €3 to €7 per person per day for up to 10 days. Children under 10 are exempt.

Netherlands

In Holland, the tourist accommodation tax is called “Toeristenbelasting”. It is charged in nearly all the 421 municipalities per person, per night, but can vary according to hotel classification and type of accommodation. For example, Amsterdam has is a 5% City Tax based on the room price.

Spain

Apart from the planned tourist tax for the Balearic Islands, Spain also charges visitors the “tasa turistica” in the Catalonia region. The levy is €0.45 and €2.25 pp, per night, for the first seven nights, depending on hotel category. Children under 16 are exempt. The tax is subject to VAT.

Switzerland

The tourist tax is charged per person, per night and varies by canton and, in some cases, by type of accommodation. It is made up of two elements the Beherbergungsabgabe (BA tax) and Kurtaxe. The BA tax goes towards paying for tourism advertising and maintaining infrastructure in regions. The Kurtaxe is used to improve the tourism experience for visitors. As each Canton in Switzerland determines how to set the taxes, there can be further variations. Generally, the tax is around 2.5CHF (€2.3) per person per night.

Dennis Swing Greene is chairman and International Tax Consultant for euroFINESCOs.a.

Lisbon Tourist Tax yielded €3.9 million in 5 months

The Lisbon Municipal Tourist Tax that is applied to overnight stays earned 3.88 million euros for the City Council between January and May. According to the municipality, the seven million Euro estimate should be “clearly exceeded” by the end of the year.

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