Major European tourist destination hit by doubling of 'tourist tax'

Anyone staying overnight in Lisbon, Portugal, will be hit with a 100 per cent rise in tourist tax being imposed
Anyone staying overnight in Lisbon, Portugal, will be hit with a 100 per cent rise in tourist tax being imposed on visitors -Credit:Getty

Tourists going to Portugal have been hit with a blow after it was announced they would be facing a big hike in fees. The ‘tourist tax’ which is appied to anyone staying overnight in Lisbon is set to be doubled after it was approved by the city council.

It is now subject to a 30-day consultation period before it comes into action - and all the revenue will go towards maintaining the city’s infrastructure. Mayor Carlos Moedas has warned the tax from €2 (£1.40) per person per night to €4 per person (£3.40). It would add an additional £12 per person to the cost of a holiday, or nearly £50 more than they are currently paying for a family of four.

The total amount of tourist tax would be around £95 for four people for a week. He said: “Increasing the tourist tax is fair for Lisbon residents, it is fair for the city, so it’s a decision I’ve taken, but obviously I want to do it with a great deal of consensus with those who are the most important people in the sector, from hotels to restaurants.

“I’ll always do everything I can to reduce taxes for Lisbon residents, I’ve done it with the reduction in IRS (personal income tax), which we’re already at 4.5 per cent and, by the end of the mandate, we’ll reach five per cent – but at the same time tourists have to contribute more to our city.”

The Amarante Municipal has also started imposing a new tourist tax as of April 2024, with tourists being required to pay €2 during the high season and €1 during the low season. According to the government’s official newspaper, the fee is expected to generate revenue that will later be used for activities related to tourist activities that are promoted by the Municipality of Amarante.

The Municipal Tourist Tax will be €2 per night between April 1 and September 30, while in the period between October and March, during which tourist numbers are lower, overnight stays in the Municipality will cost €1. The revenue generated by tourist tax has already been approved to be allocated for the country’s tourism infrastructure.

In April, the cruise taxes also started being implemented, requiring cruise passengers disembarking in Lisbon to pay €2. According to the Lisbon City Council, this tourist tax is charged “per passenger who disembarks from a cruise ship in transit, at the cruise ship terminals located in Lisbon”, with the amount being applied to the sale, regardless of whether the passengers stay in the night for one or more nights.