“Lisbon residents should not have to pay for what results from excess tourism in the city”, stated the leader of the PSD municipal group.

The PSD’s proposal for a study to update the tourist tax in Lisbon was approved with votes against from PEV, PCP and Chega, the abstention of BE and IL, and votes in favour by Livre, two independent deputies of Cidadãos Por Lisboa (elected by the PS/Livre coalition), PS, PSD, PAN, MPT, PPM, Aliança and CDS-PP.

At the presentation of the proposal, the “huge tourist pressure” on urban hygiene, maintenance of public spaces, pollution and noise in the city of Lisbon was highlighted, reinforcing that “these negative consequences have costs”, which must be mitigated with some “urgency”.

The tourist tax in the city of Lisbon was first applied in January 2016, on overnight stays by national tourists (including Lisbon residents) and foreigners in hotels or local accommodation units. Initially, it was one euro per night, but in January 2019, it increased to two euros per night. Cruise ship passengers only started paying the fee this year.

Speaking out in principle against the creation of new taxes and fees, as well as against the increase in existing taxes and fees, CDS-PP deputy Martim Borges de Freitas suggested the possibility of the tourist tax not being the same in all areas of the city.

“Instead of a generalised and equal update for all tourists who visit Lisbon, perhaps it would be good to move towards a differentiated tourist tax that would take into account, for example, the classification of the areas already established for the attribution of local accommodation licenses, even if adapted”, he proposed.

Martim Borges de Freitas explained “the value of the tourist tax should be lower or even zero” in areas with less tourist pressure and “areas in which tourist pressure is greater the tourist tax value would be higher”.

Justifying the abstention, Maria Escaja, from BE, argued that the distribution of the tourist tax must be reviewed, because “only 1 percent goes to urban cleaning and 99 percent is invested in tourism”, adding that “the tourist tax must mitigate the effects of tourism and not just serve to increase the sector”.

PCP deputy Fernado Correira stated that “revenues from the tourist tax have never been and are not being allocated, at least in the overwhelming majority, for the necessary urban cleaning and hygiene efforts, nor for the rehabilitation and maintenance of public space”.