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According to data from the National Statistics Institute (INE), holidaymakers spent more than €23 billion in Portugal in 2016. Over 28 million visitors entered the country. The number of overnight stays exceeded 144 million. Tourism is growing four times faster than the rest of the Portuguese economy and represents 7% of the gross domestic product.
Like any tourist offering in Portugal, AL operators are required to pay a small royalty fee when supplying television, radio or an internet connection in their villa or apartment. However, for non-hotel establishments with less than ten rooms, the cost is just €12 per annum.
GEDIPE is the abbreviation for the national agency for authors’ rights. The Association also covers television distribution and audio transmissions. Registration is available at:
https://www.gedipe.org/website/gedipe/contact.html (choice of language at the bottom of the page).
The State Budget has been passed and there are no major changes to the AL system: no limitations in number of days per year, and no tax increases are coming our way. The exception hits the entrepreneur who earns more than 27.300€ per year with Local Lodging (or as a Sole Trader in other areas); these businesses will have to prove 15% of their costs by presenting the respective invoices to arrive at the 65% exemption.
Tax receipts from Local Lodging (“AL”) grew from €69,000,000 to €123,000,000 between 2015 and 2017, as revealed by the Secretary of State for Tourism, Ana Mendes Godinho. “AL” license registrations also increased almost twofold from 28,000 to over 50,000 over the same period.
The number of overnight stays in tourist establishments has grown in all regions of the country between 2013 and 2016. Overall demand increased in the North and Alentejo, rural tourism in the Central Portugal and Local Lodging in Lisbon, according to the National Statistics Institute.
The Government is studying a new requirement for Local Lodging that would mandate higher condominium levies for owners who engage in holiday lets. If adopted, it would collide with another bill where the condominiums would be given the power to authorise, on a case-by-case basis, the possibility of owners renting short-term to tourists. The latter proposal was made in absentia and without the governmental consent.
The aggregate tourism turnover rose 17% last year to 3,075 million euros. The number of holiday makers jumped to 19 million, an increase of 10%. By geographical distribution, the greatest concentration of tourist beds continues to be the Algarve, with one-third of the total. Lisbon accounted for almost 20%.
The average cost of Local Lodging increased 4.6% in the centre of Lisbon and 0.3% in the historical neighbourhoods of Oporto in the first half of 2017 as compared to the previous six months period according to a recent study.
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.
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.