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Portugal's second city thinking to impose tax on overnight stays

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Staff Writer | February 6, 2017
Portugal's second city could became the latest municipality to impose a tax on overnight stays.
Tourism   Booming in the city
This comes after the current mayor of Porto, Rui Moreira, said that the time is “ripe” to create such a levy on tourism, which is booming in the city.

The tax should not be brought in until after the municipal elections later this year, however, he argued.

“It would not be right to launch it now”, a few months before the elections, Moreira said in a speech at an event in the city. "But I think that the tourist tax is an interesting subject to debate" with candidates for mayor.

Moreira was elected mayor of Porto four years ago as an independent, and is standing again this time.

He believes that revenue from the tourist tax should be used “to reduce the weight of the tourist footprint" - that is, the impact on the city of the growing influx of visitors - in order to avoid tourism taking on proportions seen in Barcelona, or indeed in parts of Lisbon, such as Mouraria, “in which it drives out citizens”.

Lisbon already has a tax on overnight stays in tourist accommodation in the city, or €1 a night. The funds are not earmarked for use in the way referred to by Moreira, and the impact of tourism in the capital has generated controversy.

Wednesday saw the introduction of a similar tax in Cascais, a city near Lisbon that has also seen a sharp increase in tourists in recent years.