Tourist tax in Porto takes young people and students away from hostels

The implementation of Porto’s tourist tax should be “progressive” for hostels because it is pushing away from the “tight budget” groups, schools and universities to other municipalities, the Portuguese Association of Hostels warned today.

The president of the Association of Hostels of Portugal, José Nuno Guerra, says that his associates and travel agencies have told him that there is a real loss of some groups of young tourists, mainly from schools and universities in the city due to the new rate implemented on March 1st of last year.

A person who comes ten days to Portugal, five days to Porto and four days to Lisbon, for example, in the end, pays another 20 euros. Now this value turns out to be “one more night of stay or possibly two or three lunches and has a very strong impact for those who come with a controlled budget and quite limited” as it happens with the public of local accommodation like the hostels, explains José Nuno War,

According to the official, the creation of a “progressive and differentiating rate” is “very important” because the hostel’s public also “spends money” and “is a good user of the city“, stimulating the restoration and putting the economy into operation.

The flight of some tourists is mainly noticed in clients who would stay during “greater periods in the city” and that they choose to stay in Vila Nova de Gaia, Espinho, Aveiro or other neighbouring municipalities.

José Nuno Guerra argues that, for the sake of proportionality between the costs of hostels and luxury hotels, a “progressive tourist tax“, such as those in Barcelona and the Balearic Islands (Spain) or in Rome, Florence and Venice (Italy), where a five-star hotel pays a higher rate and a hostel pays a lower rate, which could range from 35 cents a night to a euro.

The progressive tourist rate seems “more reasonable” and more “fair,” especially for the younger hostel public, and usually has a tighter budget, but wants to do the most things, he argued. president of the Association of Hostels of Portugal.

If a tourist stays a week, the rate may at this time be the equivalent of more than one day’s stay, “because hostel prices normally cost 20 euros per night and this means that the tourist will pay 10% of the stay “, while in a four or five star hotel, one night can be 200 euros, which corresponds to 1%.

José Nuno Guerra stresses that a measure such as the progressive tourist tax is a way to protect the return of young tourists between the ages of 18 and 32 to Portugal, which according to the World Tourism Organization (WTO) in five or ten years want to return, but already with the family.

This audience is really what, according to the WTO, will be more developed in the coming years. We are talking about the age between 18 and 32,” he adds.

About the announcement made recently by the city councillor, Ricardo Valente, which indicated that the municipality had raised 10.4 million euros in 2018 with the tourist tax, the president of the Association of Hostels of Portugal that the money could increase to double in the future.

The rate started in March, so we did not pick up the month of January or the month of February, nor did we pick up all the reserves that had been made until March 2017. From there, we quickly concluded that the [rate municipal of Porto] can reach 12, 13 or 14 million euros, so it doubles the value that the Municipal Council of Porto is to program. ” The first forecast of the autarchy was to raise six million euros in the first year of rate.

The inspection of fees is the responsibility of the city council, which periodically receives from the hotels a statement with information on its application.

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