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There are more than 80,000 Local Lodging Establishments in Portugal and only eight inspectors from “ASAE” (Autoridade de Segurança Alimentar e Económica) to oversee them. Lack of safety and health conditions are the most common problems. But the capacity to intervene is “very limited”.
The World Travel & Tourism Council estimates that tourism in Portugal will expand by 5.3% in 2019, more than double the European average of 2.5%. Last year, the sector grew by 8.1%, contributing €38.4 billion to the Portuguese economy, a total of 19.1% of the country’s overall economic activity.
Over the past four decades, global warming has taken hold in Portugal according to statistics gathered by the Instituto Português do Mar e da Atmosfera ‑ IPMA. Maximum temperatures have increased by 1.6ºc over the past 40 years and summer has stretched by 6 more weeks in the north and centre of the country, as defined by the number of days with temperatures above 25ºc. This trend has been less pronounced in the south. There has also been less rain leading to more frequent severe droughts.
Last year, fewer British holidaymakers chose Portugal as a tourist destination, less 111,667 than in 2017. Despite the drop, the overall number of foreign tourists grew by 0.4% last year, enough to reach a new record high at 12.76 million. This increase was mostly due to a 20% jump in American tourism, accounting for an additional 135,000 US visitors in 2018.
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.