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Portugal received 128,000 fewer foreign visitors this summer than in the same period last year, a drop largely due to fewer holidaymakers from the United Kingdom. Between June and September, 5.5 million travellers came to Portugal, down 2.2% when compared to the same period in 2017. However, revenues rose to 1.7 billion euros during the period, up 4.4%.
In Portugal, there are ±1.1 million second residences, according to National Statistics Institute data, comprising 80% of “AL” offerings. These dwellings have a low utilisation rate: less than 30 days a year. When engaged in Local Lodging, the average yield per owner is €11,000 euros. Lisbon and Porto tell a different story. In these two urban areas, “AL” is driven primarily by investment properties, not second residences, and foreign buyers.
DECO warns that the new rules for Local Lodging require owners to have an insurance that is not currently available in Portugal. According to the Portuguese Consumer Protection Association, “there is no multi-risk liability insurance, which shows a serious ignorance on the part of lawmakers.” “In addition, the law is not clear about any damages to be covered.”
795 out of 806 tourists surveyed (98%) said that they feel safe in Portugal. A survey conducted by the “Universidade Nova de Lisboa” (New University of Lisbon) revealed that only “natural beauty and heritage” have more relevance than security when choosing to visit Portugal.
In the first six months of 2018, holidaymakers in Portugal spent almost 7 billion euros, corresponding to 38 million euros per day. The figures represent an increase of 14% as compared to the same period last year. In the first half of 2018, Portugal received 9.6 million visitors. British, German and French continue to be the primary national groups to visit the country.
Since the approval of the legislation amending the rules for Local Lodging, 836 new units have been opened in Lisbon and 297 in Porto. President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa has already signed the bill which should be published soon, coming into force 60 days after.
A new study by HomeAway reveals why Portuguese nationals prefer using Local Lodging for their vacations. For 79.5% of the respondents, choosing an “AL” accommodation is based on the possibility to prepare meals, thus making significant savings in the overall holiday budget. 70.2% of respondents prefer the scheduling flexibility and the ability to plan their vacation days without rigid time restrictions. In turn, 65% indicate that they can enjoy more space for leisure activities. 51.5% of holidaymakers appreciate the privacy and tranquility (as compared to 37.2% in hotels).
Local Lodging accommodated one third of visitors to Portugal in 2017, an annualised increase of almost 29%, according to ALEP (Association of Local Lodging in Portugal). As of July 2018, there are currently more than 72,000 Local Lodging establishments registered nationwide.
France is the EU country with the highest number of tourist beds available. According to 2016 data collected by the European Statistical Office, the French tourist industry registered 5.1 million beds or 16.4% of the EU total. Italy ranked a close second with 4.9 million beds (15.8%). Spain placed third with 3.5 million beds or 11.2%. Over the same period, Portugal recorded approximately 567,800 tourist accommodations, an increase of 16,100 beds (+3%) when compared to the previous year.
According to the National Statistics Institute (INE)*, Portugal received 3.4 million Local Lodging guests in 2017 (+29%), and 8 million overnight stays (+26.7%), generating €263 million in total revenues (+27.6%). The number of overnight stays increased in all regions, most significantly in the Center (+42.3%), Greater Lisbon (+31.4%), Madeira (+22.5%) and the North (+25.2%). The average Local Lodging stay was 2.35 nights (-1.6%), with longer stays in Madeira (4.80 nights), Algarve (3.23 nights) and Lisbon (2.37 nights). Germany was the tourist largest market (+27.4%), followed by the French, British and Spanish (+22.3%, +20.9% and +31.5%, respectively). There were also significant increases from Poland (+79.8%), the United States (+64.8%) and Brazil (+54.6%).
* INE only counts “AL” offerings with more than 10 beds. Following this criteria, there were only 2,663 “AL” establishments in Portugal in 2017. According to the Ministry of Tourism, “AL” registrations currently total over 85,000. While the INE numbers may be inaccurate, these statistics can still prove useful on a relative basis.