The Algarve councils announced last week several decisions aiming to help fight the Coronavirus outbreak repercussions in the region’s economy.

The main one is the suspension of the tourist tax that was implemented on the 1st of March in Faro and Vila Real de Santo António and was to be followed by the rest of the municipalities of the Algarve.

The Algarve Municipalities Association (AMAL), that represents the 16 municipalities of the Portuguese region, announced the decision, among others like the postponement of the dates to pay water bills until May and also the deferral and/or exemption of payment of rents on public concessioned equipment and the exemption of fees for the occupation of public roads.

Exempted from this tourism taxation were already children under 13 years old, national or foreign students from the University of the Algarve, people displaced for medical reasons (plus a person accompanying them) and people with at least 60% of incapacity.

João Fernandes, the regional tourism chief, already applauded the decisions publicly, “given the tough period that the different tourism activities are going through, namely the accommodation sector”.

“At this moment, protecting public health and people’s wellbeing is everyone’s first goal. But we cannot neglect the future competitiveness of our economy,” Fernandes said in a press statement.

From now on, the AMAL gives each municipality the freedom to adequate the safety measures to the particularities, necessities and financial stability of their own. Then, at the end of May will be discussed the possibility to extend or launch new policies.

To recall, the municipality of Faro was already applying a 1,5€ tax per overnight stay since the beginning of March and was aiming to collect 500 thousand euros in 2020, according to the autarchy’s councilman for Tourism, Carlos Baía. The funds were to be used in “mitigating the effects that tourism has on the region and making it more appealing to visitors”.