Local Accommodation (AL) in Porto will rely on the services of a mediator to assist and guide the stakeholders in the sector, namely residents, facility managers, tourists and apartment complex managers. The proposal was presented by the councillor for Economy, Tourism, and Trade, Ricardo Valente, during the Executive Meeting held yesterday, 28 June and it was approved by a majority. The CDU party abstained.
The “promotion of balance and harmony between all stakeholders” has become paramount, according to Ricardo Valente, “given the Local Accommodation sector’s sharp growth, until 2019, which are mostly located in downtown Porto and in the Historic Centre”.
“It is a matter of public interest that Porto City Hall provides an open communication channel to the city, to mediate the interaction between residents, tourists, apartment complex management companies, townhouses, local accommodation management companies, tenants, joint-owners and local accommodation owners”, the proposal reads.
The Municipality’s outlining goals for establishing the role of the Mediator for Local Accommodation are centralization of information, facilitation and conciliation of interests and needs of residents, tourists and companies, thus providing the information and guidance needed to facilitate successful negotiations and resolve conflicts and tensions.
The mediator also receives and handles complaints, gathers information, and asks for clarifications on both sides of the conflict. By the end of each year, the Mediation services deliver an activity report, but the City Hall or the Municipal Assembly can ask for clarification on any issue of their competence.
Ricardo Valente presented the most recent data to the Municipal Executive, as regards Local Accommodation in the city, with 7.646 registered Local Accommodation establishments, 12.428 bedrooms and 23.969 beds.
“2020 is the first year we had a net reduction of the stock of licenses, regarding Local Accommodation, of nearly 400 licences”, explained Ricardo Valente. Not all of these licences mean that the LA sector is operating, the majority of these are waiting for the full reopening of tourism and cannot enter the residential sector. Ricardo Valente furthered that “we have been telling the Government that this makes no sense at all”.
The proposal forms part of a global Municipal Strategy resulting from the city’s Tourism management, which has already established the “Confiança Porto” programme, as well as a training programme for tourism establishment managers to adapt to the change of model of the sector.