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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.
Thus far this summer, ASAE has carried out 610 raids on Tourist Enterprises and Local Lodging establishments throughout Portugal. The operation led to the suspension of three “AL” operations for non-compliance with hygiene requirements. The investigating teams instituted 111 administrative actions and a criminal proceeding, primarily for infractions regarding non-registration of a tourist activity.
Yescapa, an online platform for renting motorhomes, joins more traditional holiday accommodation options. Dubbed the “Airbnb of motorhomes”, Yescapa offers an “on the road again” vacation experience that is different from hotels, local lodging, camping or hostels. The startup began six years ago in France and is now expanding to Portugal at yescapa.pt
In 2018, the Government plans to launch, under the framework of the Simplex+2018, a new “citizen card” for foreigners residing in Portugal, which will group in a single document identification numbers for tax (“NIF”), Social Security and the National Health System (“SNS”). According to the Secretary of State, with this new card, the delivery to the foreign citizen of all these identification numbers will happen simultaneously at the same place of issuance, cutting significantly the time and effort required.
Last year, immigration grew 19% as compared to 2016, the highest increase in the last five years. “SEF” granted 29,055 residency permits (AR) to third-country nationals from outside of the EU in 2017, approaching pre-crisis figures.
Prime Minister António Costa declared: “We do not have an excess of Local Lodging. We have a lack of affordable housing.” The Government presented its “New Generation of Housing Policies” (NGPH), which includes various measures to stimulate urban rental and rehabilitation. Beyond contributions from the state, the goal is to create incentives for private individuals to place their properties with an affordable lease.”