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Lisbon was the fifth most popular destination for European holidaymakers in 2017, registering a 17% jump when compared to the year before. Porto came in ninth place, 12% above 2016. Registering a 24% increase, London was the first choice for European tourists, followed by Barcelona, Mallorca and Paris.
Prices for Local Lodging (“AL”) rose in the historic centres of Lisbon and Oporto during the first half of 2016 according to the “Confidencial Imobiliário Index”. The average cost of “AL” accommodations increased by 4.6% in the historic districts of Lisbon and 0.3% in the centre of Porto.
Airbnb announced that, since 01 May 2016, it has already delivered almost five million euros to the City de Lisbon from the collection of levies on holidaymakers. To date in 2017, the amount collected has been €3,100,000. Airbnb is the only internet hosting platform to collect the Tourist Tax (one euro per night per person) on behalf of the Lisbon City Council.
The number of overnight stays in tourist establishments has grown in all regions of the country between 2013 and 2016. Overall demand increased in the North and Alentejo, rural tourism in the Central Portugal and Local Lodging in Lisbon, according to the National Statistics Institute.
Lisbon has experienced the greatest decline in the number of young adults within Portugal in recent years. One factor contributing to the drop is the difficulty in finding affordable housing. In 2012, the median rent in Lisbon was €268, according to INE (“Instituto Nacional de Estatística”). In 2016, the average climbed to €830.
But high rent is only part of the problem. The ageing of the population is at the root of the decrease. In 1991, Lisbon had 138 seniors for every 100 young people (from 0 to 14 years old). By 2016, the number of elderly rose to 182, a proportional increase of 24%, making Lisbon the oldest council in the nation. Provisional population estimates advanced by INE indicate that the number of young people aged between 20 and 34 living in Lisbon went down from 95,830 in 2011 to 67,916 in 2016, a net loss of 29%.
The Portuguese brand, Lifecooler, announced that it is transforming university residences into Local Lodging during the peak summer months. A pilot project began this August in Lisbon. Designated as “Rooms & Experiences”, the initiative started with a residence with 48 rooms and 68 beds located in the Lumiar district.
The aggregate tourism turnover rose 17% last year to 3,075 million euros. The number of holiday makers jumped to 19 million, an increase of 10%. By geographical distribution, the greatest concentration of tourist beds continues to be the Algarve, with one-third of the total. Lisbon accounted for almost 20%.
The average cost of Local Lodging increased 4.6% in the centre of Lisbon and 0.3% in the historical neighbourhoods of Oporto in the first half of 2017 as compared to the previous six months period according to a recent study.
Guests in tourist accommodations increased to the highest level in 10 years during the first quarter of 2017. Madeira’s hotels recorded the strongest occupancy rate (75%), followed by Lisbon (67%) and Porto (63%). Nationwide, foreign visitors are up 10% over a 12 month period. By nationality, the largest rise came from Brazilians (68%), Polish (40%) and Americans (34%). Urban tourism is one of the major trends in demand. The country’s security is perceived as one of the main criteria, followed by climate, culture and cuisine.
Innovation in the regulation of local lodging has made Portugal a case study. Short term holiday letting is an integral part of the current Portuguese tourism boom. Dilapidated heritage districts in Lisbon and Oporto have a new lease on life with private investment driving much needed restoration. As with any phenomenon of rapid and disorderly growth, distortions have emerged. But this should not be a pretext to kill the chicken that lays the golden egg.