The Associação da Hotelaria de Portugal (AHP), the largest and most representative employers’ association in the hotel industry in Portugal, and hoteliers in the city of Coimbra, will be meeting today with the Mayor Coimbra, where they will have the opportunity to once again justify their position contrary to that of the Chamber on the implementation of the tourist tax.
For AHP only in tourist destinations considered “mature” is that the creation of this type of fees is justified, which is not the case in this case. The city’s efficiency is far from other Portuguese destinations where the “tourist footprint” is evident.
Furthermore, the Association has long argued that tourist taxes should not be levied exclusively on on tourist accommodation, considering that they should also be applied to all economic agents in the Municipality.
It should also be noted that, at the present time, the creation of the tax is totally inappropriate, taking into account takes into account the troubled period that the sector has experienced in the last 2 years, with the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to drops in hotel revenue of 66% in 2020 and 46% in 2021, compared to 2019, of which the hotel business of the City of Coimbra has not yet recovered, which left the economic operators in this sector in an extremely fragile situation, despite the recovery in 2022 (which, by the way, was much more timid in Coimbra, very dependent on the national market and the segments of congresses and meetings ).
Plus that today we are also faced with a very unstable and uncertain present and future economic situation – inflation, war in Ukraine with interruption of the use of Russian airspace, so prone to Southwest Asian outbound markets, and interruption of supply circuits – as well as well as with serious manpower problems.
For Cristina Siza Vieira, executive vice president of AHP, “it is essential to listen to the hotel Industry, so we thank and praise the President of Chamber for their openness and willingness to receive us. Moreover, we have already established ourselves as interested in the administrative procedure, as well as all hoteliers in the city. We are against the creation of the tax, even more so now, but we are willing to work together with the Municipality of Coimbra to, together, find a path that satisfies all parties. Coimbra is without a doubt a fantastic destination, with immense potential and that deserves to have a partnership between hoteliers and the municipality aimed at serving the best interests of the city.” And he adds another concern: “The hotel operation does not stop, there are already contracts signed for the next year and beyond with several tour operators that have to be safeguarded, due to the principles of good faith and the punctual fulfillment of contracts. It is because the prices are closed and it is feared that if the rate advances who will have to bear these costs, directly or indirectly, whether the hoteliers and not the guests or the operators.”
Having present the recent statements by the vice-president of the Chamber that “all the revenue generated by the application of the tax (…) will be fully applied to promote the development of economic and tourist activity, in a social and sustainable way, creating more and better conditions to welcome tourists”, the AHP believes that the commitment assumed can be implemented in accordance with the proposal presented by the Association.
” We hope that our intervention will allow for a better reflection and at least that we can fine-tune the proposal for a regulation, above all on two essential points: ensuring that there is sufficient time delay between the publication and the entry into vitality of the same, so that economic operators can prepare themselves, and enshrine a model of governance vernance similar to what is already applied in other destinations, and which we even proposed when we commented on the subject: allocating the fee to a Tourism Development Fund, with shared and articulated management between the City Council and the various contributing agents involved in the tourism sector. Tourism, specifically the hotel industry, which will in fact contribute to this additional revenue, to finance investments and actions that sustainably promote the destination”, concludes the official.
AHP met , in September, with the majority of hoteliers in the city of Coimbra, associates and non-associates, who unanimously spoke out against the aforementioned fee and shared several concerns with the state of the City.
The Association will, therefore, assume the position for which it was mandated at the meeting it will have, this afternoon, with the Mayor of Coimbra, where several hoteliers in the city will also be represented.
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