The region’s hoteliers’ association AHETA has accused politicians behind the move of insensitivity and claimed they are “shooting themselves in the foot.”
They have also complained the tax will not benefit tourists in the slightest and threatened legal action to try to stop its introduction.
Algarve mayors’ group AMAL approved the introduction of a tourist tax last Friday, ruling the same fee should be charged across the region’s 16 municipalities.
It was claimed at the time the decision had been unanimous, although Silves later insisted it had not agreed the resolution voted on by the other 15 Algarve local authorities.
A decision on when charges will start to be levied and how much holidaymakers will have to fork out, has yet to be taken.
Nearly four out of every ten foreign tourists to the Algarve are British and more than a million Brits stayed in hotels or guesthouses in the area to November of last year.
The Algarve region welcomes more of the foreign holidaymakers who pick Portugal than any other part of the country.
Lisbon and Porto already charge tourist tax, with the capital charging 89 pence per night and £1.77 per person per night.
The regional hotel association has been quick to point out the typical Algarve tourist is part of a family enjoying stays of up to a fortnight, meaning they could be hit hard by additional charges for each night they stay.
A spokesman for the organisation, led by president Eliderico Viegas, said: “AHETA condems and deeply regrets the approval of a pseudo tax to be paid by tourists visiting the Algarve on holiday.”
The association added in a statement: “The approval of a tourist tax reveals ignorance about the true substance of regional tourism and a lack of sensibility on the part of the region’s mayors.
“By invoking the examples of Lisbon and Porto to justify among other reasons the introduction of the tax, the mayors are showing they are unaware of the contribution of the largest and most important Portuguese tourist region to the national economy.
“While Lisbon and Porto are short-stay destinations, the Algarve is a family-orientated holiday destination where stays are usually longer.”
Insisting it would take legal action against what it deemed to be “unfair and illegal”, it added: “The AHETA appeals to the mayors and local authorities of the Algarve to avoid shooting themselves in the foot and transmit negative images of the region and its tourism abroad.”
AMAL, the Intermunicipal Community of the Algarve, has said the amount tourists will pay and the maximum number of nights they will be charged will be decided “as quickly as possible.”
AMAL president Jorge Botelho insisted after last Friday’s vote: “It’s premature to give an exact date for its introduction but it’s a reality and a novelty and the Algarve will have a tourist tax.”