Tourist tax for cruise passengers in Lisbon effective as of April 1st

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The implementation of the tourist tax for cruise passengers disembarking in Lisbon, which began to be charged at the beginning of this year when buying trips, will take effect from Monday, with all operators applying it.

“Under the terms of the protocol signed with APL – Administração do Porto de Lisboa, the settlement and collection of the Arrival Tax by Sea (TCVM) begins on April 1st,” the Lisbon City Council (CML) informed Lusa this week.

Regarding the collection from passengers who have already bought trips as of January 1 this year, CML said that “it is not yet possible to make an assessment”, noting that the municipality does not have information on the number of tourist packages sold.

In this context, APL is responsible for “collecting and delivering the proceeds of the fee to the municipality”, the council said.

Cruise passengers started paying the tax when they bought their trips, included in the tourist package, on the first day of this year, but at the time APL explained that there were technical issues to resolve (such as adapting computer systems) and that some packages for 2024 had already been sold, so the tax was due to be levied on April 1st.

The tax has “a single value” of two euros, applied in advance to the sale, regardless of whether passengers stay more than one night on the ships.

It is calculated, according to CML, “per passenger disembarking from a cruise ship in transit, at the cruise ship terminals located in Lisbon”.

In response to Lusa, APL confirmed that the implementation will take effect on Monday, “and will apply to all passengers on ships in transit, over the age of 13, who visit the city”.

Cruise operators were informed “some time in advance” so that they could include the corresponding amount in their tariffs, so those who didn’t have the opportunity to reflect this cost to the passenger “will have to assume the amount payable for the tax”, said the Port Authority.

Regarding the collection since January, APL said that “it is not yet possible to quantify the number of tourist packages sold with this tax”.

The collection “is carried out using the JUL platform – Janela Única Logística, an ecosystem for port and logistics digitalization at national level”, used for all actions involving a ship call, whether passenger or cargo.

This platform allows all those involved in port operations to be connected in a dematerialized way, and includes the different national authorities. The tool has already been in operation “for a few years”, including for issuing invoices.

Without predicting “difficulties or challenges”, APL revealed that it was necessary to create a feature in JUL to add the new fee.

“All passengers embarking or disembarking in Lisbon and staying overnight in the city, either before the ship’s call, pre-embarkation, or afterwards, post-disembarkation, are naturally subject to the tourist tax charged by the hotel, and there is no exception regime for these passengers,” he said.

The tourist tax in the city of Lisbon began to be applied in January 2016 on overnight stays by domestic tourists (including locals) and foreigners in hotels and local accommodation.

Initially it was one euro per night, but in January 2019 it increased to two euros.

Cruise ship passengers disembarking in the capital have never paid the tax. The municipality expects an annual income of 1.2 million euros from its payment.

At the signing of the protocol with APL in December 2023, the president of CML, Carlos Moedas (PSD), said that the municipality is working on updating the value of the tourist tax in the city, with news to come “very soon”.

Without revealing the planned increase, CML stressed that any change will have to be approved by the municipal bodies and “only then can a new value be applied”.

APL told Lusa that “anticipating the introduction of new rates or new increases is a very important factor” for economic agents to be able to accommodate these changes, which require time to be reflected in the final consumer.

Hervé Hubert
Hervé Hubert
Hervé Hubert is a 55-year-old writer and journalist based in Porto, Portugal. Born in France, he brings a unique blend of French and Portuguese perspectives to his work. Education Hervé studied Journalism and Literature at the University of Lyon in France. After completing his studies, he gained valuable experience working with various French media outlets (Portugal France also). Career He worked for several years as a journalist in France before making the move to Portugal. In Porto, he joined the Portugal Pulse team as a staff writer. Skills Hervé specializes in storytelling, investigative journalism, and cultural commentary. He has a flair for capturing complex issues in a relatable way. Personal Life He currently resides in Porto and enjoys the city's rich culture, from Fado music to Francesinha cuisine. Hervé continues to maintain strong ties to his French heritage, often traveling back to France for family visits and cultural exploration. With his unique background and diverse skill set, Hervé Hubert adds a layered, multicultural lens to every story he covers.

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