Last week, the main international newspapers talked about the possibility of no more short-term rental in Lisbon. After generating some communication conflicts, the Mayor, Fernando Medina, clarified that he has no intention of ending this business model which is so important for tourism. It all happened when the president wrote an opinion article, published in The Independent, where he mentioned that after the coronavirus, “Lisbon will get rid of Airbnb and turn short-term holiday rentals into homes for essential workers”.
Many investors, property owners and tourists were frightened by this statement, which even generated a request for an official explanation issued by the Local Accommodation Association in Portugal (ALEP). The fact is that the mayor explained that he wanted to comment on the impossibility of having the same city after the pandemic, and that it’s time to solve its problems.
After the stir and the complaints of short-term rental entrepreneurs in Lisbon, Medina reformulated the statements and softened the title of the article in The Independent to the point where it had to be changed. According to interviews, he said: “I’m not going to end short-term rental in Lisbon, I wouldn’t even have the power to do so. That was an abusive interpretation, which the Independent has already corrected. Local accommodation was important in responding to increased demand in the city of Lisbon, and on the other hand it played a role in the rehabilitation of the city”.
See the President’s statement in the article (in English).
This ban would be a break in the very high tourism economy and would diminish the variety in accommodation options in the country’s capital. According to statistics from the National Institute of Statistics (INE), in 2019 alone, tourism accommodations registered around 70 million overnight stays, of which 10 million were in short-term rentals. Lisbon is the second most sought after by tourists, second only to the Algarve.