Algarve Business Associations are «strongly against» the introduction of tourist tax

AHETA, NERA, AIHSA, CEAL, ACRAL and ANJE consider that the creation of a fee […]

AHETA, NERA, AIHSA, CEAL, ACRAL and ANJE consider that the creation of a tourist tax by the Algarve municipalities «is intended more to solve the financial problems of local authorities than to satisfy the problems populations in need'.

In a joint position released this Tuesday, the Algarve Hotels and Tourism Associations (AHETA), Algarve Business (NERA), Trade and Services (ACRAL), National Young Entrepreneurs (ANJE) and also the Business Confederation of Algarve (CEAL) stated that they were "vehemently against" the introduction of a tourist tax, as suggested by the 16 municipalities that make up the Intermunicipal Community of the Algarve (AMAL), at your last meeting.

Algarvian businessmen contest that, "in the name of a noble intention, (to help the most needy), local authorities use tourists as a bargaining chip to justify disproportionate increases in taxes, in order to overcome their serious internal financial problems and other weaknesses, jeopardizing increased economic activity and regional employment'.

The main business associations in the region recall that, in recent times, the municipalities of the Algarve, «in addition to having created countless new municipal fees, have systematically and successively carried out enormous increases in existing ones, thus contributing to accentuate even more the loss of competitiveness of the regional economy in general and of the tourist activity in particular».

The six associations emphasize that «high taxation has been one of the main reasons for the progressive loss of competitiveness of the Algarve and the country's economy».

"The introduction of a rate of this nature would correspond, in practice, to a tax higher than IRC and VAT, not being transferable to tourists, given the current elasticity of demand, contributing to the closure of a greater number of establishments during the low season and the increase in the scourge of unemployment”, they add.

«The example of such rates in force in other countries does not apply, as they are applied only in cities/capitals, characterized by short stays (one, two or three nights), with no known case in tourist destinations similar and/or competitors in the Algarve', they guarantee.

But the entrepreneurs also point out that "only officially classified tourist enterprises would be obliged to pay this fee, while more than 50 percent of tourists who visit the region annually would be exempt, violating the most elementary principles of justice and equal treatment."

In this sense, the business associations of the Algarve once again call for the «restraint of local authorities in the application of municipal fees and/or taxes, whether or not they are disguised as tourist, and should instead resort to financial sanitation measures and other cures, which allow a more balanced management of their municipalities'.

The regional associative structures publicly reaffirm their "availability to make every effort, by law, to prevent a tax of this nature, which is very harmful to the interests of tourist activity, from being applied in the region", even admitting resorting to "the all sovereign organs, including recourse to the courts'.