Yet another European city introduces a one-euro tourist tax

The municipal council of Peniche, Portugal, has approved a new regulatory measure aimed at instituting a one-euro tourist tax for overnight accommodations. This tax is intended to address the growing volume of tourists visiting the Leiria district. The Influx of tourists leads to over-crowded streets thus creating troubles for the city in many fashions which require capital to take care of, this way of collecting tax gives more capital to the local authorities to solve said created problems.

The proposal was unanimously endorsed during the recent Chamber meeting of the Peniche Municipality and is also slated for submission to the Municipal Assembly for further consideration. Before its enactment, the regulatory framework for Peniche’s municipal tourist tax, set at one euro, will undergo a mandatory 30-day period of public consultation, as outlined in the proposal. 

The prelude of the proposal issued by the Peniche Chamber rationalizes the necessity of introducing a tourist tax due to the “substantial recent upswing” in visitor numbers to the municipality.

The Council of Peniche explained “The Municipality of Peniche considers that the principle of fair distribution of public costs requires that the operational costs incurred in generating utilities for tourists who visit the municipality be allocated, in the proportion in which they benefit from these tourists and not the population resident of the municipality. In this way, it becomes legitimate to demand compensation from tourists”

As described by the council, the introduction of a municipal tourist tax serves the purpose of mitigating the social and environmental strain on the municipality’s infrastructure also, preserving its competitiveness in the regional landscape.

Peniche’s municipal tourist tax will be imposed on overnight accommodations across various categories, encompassing hotels, guesthouses, apartment hotels, tourist villages, resorts, local lodgings, tourism enterprises, as well as camping and caravan parks.

The public outlook on this matter is quite controversial, with some in favor and some against it. Alex, a local from Lisbon says “I don’t mind spending one euro a day when staying in Peniche. Perhaps that can help them improve their facilities. It’s okay by me.”

Tom Mortella, A traveler from the USA says “I completely agree with the need for a “tourist tax”! Especially after witnessing fellow tourists leave garbage on the sidewalks, and copious amounts of uneaten food on their plates. We are generously contributing to the city’s pollution while placing a strain on local infrastructure. All this is not included in the pricing of our visit.”

John, Another traveler had his say and his thoughts are against this decision by the local authorities “Are they that stupid to figure out the money that the tourists bring to the area more than pays for any use of public services? Putting off tourism from staying in the area means less being spent on local shops, businesses, restaurants, tourist attractions, and anything else. Talk about biting the hand that feeds you.”

It is worth noting that another region in Portugal, the Algarve, instituted a nightly tax of €2 in May of this year, to implement it during the peak summer season, projecting annual revenues of up to €300,000. During the off-peak season, spanning from November to March, the tariff will be reduced to €1 per night.

Since the implementation of the tourist tax, Lisbon has seen several benefits. The city has been able to invest in new buses and metro trains, renovate parks and squares, and support cultural events such as museums, theaters, and music festivals. The tax has also helped to reduce the negative impacts of tourism, such as overcrowding and noise pollution.

In addition, the tourist tax has encouraged tourists to be more mindful of their impact on the city and its residents. For example, tourists are more likely to use public transportation instead of taxis, or to choose restaurants and attractions that are located in less crowded areas.

Historically, Portuguese municipalities that have adopted tourist taxes collectively generated a cumulative revenue of €21.4 million over four months, Starting from January and concluding at the end of April this year. Among these municipalities, Lisbon alone accounted for €13.6 million in tax collection.

According to a report sourced from Portugal Resident, the country witnessed a 41 percent surge in tourist arrivals during the first four months of this year when compared to the corresponding period of the previous year

Europe has seen a boom in travel and tourist taxes are imposed throughout Europe in cities that entertain a large sum of tourists, and as positive as this sounds. Extremes of anything can be bad. In another part of Europe, the Mayoress of Santiago said, “I want this municipality to stop being just a tourist destination and a theme park. I want a Santiago from which there is no need to flee due to uncontrolled tourism”. This statement concludes the local perspective and explains why the need to control tourism is rationale from a local’s perspective. 

Dawood Janjua
Dawood Janjua joined HopDes in October 2023, He’s the man with a burning passion for travel, a true aficionado of what the world has to offer. This guy doesn't just wander; he dives headfirst into the great unknown, racking up an encyclopedia of experiences that spans from the concrete jungle to the wildest wilderness. In short, Dawood isn't just a traveler; he's the guy who helps you write the story of a lifetime, one incredible chapter at a time.

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