Portuguese tourism begins to see the light at the end of the tunnel

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Lisbon, Oct 2 (EFE) .- After more than a year and a half of pandemic and two confinements, Portuguese tourism begins to see the light at the end of the tunnel, thanks mainly to domestic demand and despite the fact that some of its main markets foreigners, such as the British, are still far from returning to normal levels.

Tourism has been the great victim of the coronavirus in a country where, in 2019, the sector represented 15.3% of the national GDP, a percentage that fell to almost half in 2020.

This year did not start with good news, with a total confinement of two months and a gradual de-escalation that did not allow tourists to start arriving, with a dropper, until well into May.

But since then the sector has been recovering vigor. The latest available figures show that the recovery is on the right track and in July 4.5 million overnight stays were registered, 72% more than the same month in 2020, according to the National Institute of Statistics.

The pre-pandemic numbers have not yet been reached, but it is a breath of air for a sector that last year saw its income fall by 67% and that lost 17 million tourists.


The sunny Algarve, in the south, which depends heavily on tourism, accounted for 35% of overnight stays in July.

In August, although there is still no data from the INE, the hotel occupancy rate reached 76%, according to the president of the Algarve Tourism body, João Fernandes, told EFE.

“August was even better than expected, a lot thanks to the demand from the Portuguese and also some external demand, especially from Spain and the French-speaking markets, France, Belgium, Luxembourg and Switzerland,” he explained.

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