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Cascais began charging a Tourist Tax of €1.00 per night as of 01 February 2017. The City Council estimates a minimum first year income of €1.2 million. Initially the proposed charge was to be €1.50, but the final levy was set at €1.00 per night, up to a maximum of five nights.
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.
The Municipality of Cascais will begin charging a tourist tax as of February 1st. All overnight stays in hotels, hostels and local lodging establishments will be subject to the charge of one euro per night, up to a maximum of five euros per stay.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The mayor of Porto, Rui Moreira, announced his intention to introduce a Tourist Tax in the city of Porto “to alleviate the tourist footprint in the city” and “to buy real estate that the municipality does not want used for tourism.”
The Lisbon Municipality has reached an agreement with the principal Local Lodging platform, Airbnb, to levy the one euro Tourist Tax for each night holidaymakers stay in the city with a limit of seven euros. Airbnb will begin to collect the charge on 01 May. The agreement is in line with the company’s practice in other major world capitals.
Vila Real de Santo António is the latest municipality to add a tourist tax (and probably not the last). Like its predecessors, the assessment is €1 per night per individual. Also like other councils, this Câmara offers owners no way to discount the levy, leaving no alternative but to pay tax on another tax.