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Guests in tourist accommodations increased to the highest level in 10 years during the first quarter of 2017. Madeira’s hotels recorded the strongest occupancy rate (75%), followed by Lisbon (67%) and Porto (63%). Nationwide, foreign visitors are up 10% over a 12 month period. By nationality, the largest rise came from Brazilians (68%), Polish (40%) and Americans (34%). Urban tourism is one of the major trends in demand. The country’s security is perceived as one of the main criteria, followed by climate, culture and cuisine.
A year ago, the Funchal Investor Desk and the “City with Life” Programmes started in Funchal. So far, 236 requests have been registered regarding the rehabilitation of “Zona Velha” buildings to create Local Lodgings, with trade and services on the ground floor.
There are currently registered 26,000 Local Lodging offerings in Portugal. Lisbon is the most popular city with 4,500 and O Porto with 1,725. The Island of Madeira currently counts over 1,000 registrations. The national total represents approximately 130,000 beds compared to 235,000 beds in hotels.
The district of S. Cruz, Madeira, created an “Ecotaxa” on all tourist accommodation, including Local Lodging. The cost is 1 € per person per night (only for guests over the age of 18) and the maximum per person and stay is € 5.
The levy is supposed to be paid as of January 2016: The City Hall provides a form which is to be sent to them until the 10th of each following month. The Council then issues a payment order, and the property owners have 30 days to pay the amount.
The issue is being contested by the Chamber of Commerce and the big hotels in S. Cruz, they hold the levy to be unfair since it is not applicable to the whole island. The issue has gone to court.
S. Cruz Council on Madeira Island is working on a plan to install an EcoTax for tourists in their district, “to implement significant improvements in terms of the council’s territory and environment”.
According to the plan’s introduction made in Lisbon in September, the tax would be applied only to hotels and be based on the number of nights sold.