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According to data from the National Statistics Institute (INE), holidaymakers spent more than €23 billion in Portugal in 2016. Over 28 million visitors entered the country. The number of overnight stays exceeded 144 million. Tourism is growing four times faster than the rest of the Portuguese economy and represents 7% of the gross domestic product.
Tax receipts from Local Lodging (“AL”) grew from €69,000,000 to €123,000,000 between 2015 and 2017, as revealed by the Secretary of State for Tourism, Ana Mendes Godinho. “AL” license registrations also increased almost twofold from 28,000 to over 50,000 over the same period.
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.
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%.
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.
“Turismo de Portugal” has set ambitious goals for the coming decade, following a 17% jump in tourism in January:
- a) A 4% annual increase, thereby doubling overnight stays by 2027;
- b) Reduce seasonality by one third by increasing off-season offerings over the same period;
- c) Boost training and qualifications of hotel and restaurant personnel;
- d) Bolster national approval for tourism to 90% of the population;
- e) Enhance conservation and appreciation of Portugal’s cultural and national heritage;
- f) Strengthen competitiveness and innovation;
- g) Improve qualifications and inclusion of activities and residents.
Tourism already represents 17% of gross domestic product and the view is optimistic for on-going growth and improvement.
Those who live and work in Lisbon like tourists who visit the Portuguese capital. More than 90% of the population favours the presence of tourists. In addition, the contribution of tourism to the economic activity of the Lisbon Region is significant. In 2015 it amounted to 8.4 billion euros, corresponding to an average annual growth of 8% over the previous 10 years according to a survey by Intercampus and Deloitte Studies.
In 2016, the 1.6 million inhabitants of Barcelona were “overwhelmed” by more than 32 million tourists who “overloaded the city”. The City Council has approved legislation to limit the influx of tourists after more than 25 years of intense promotion of the city as a tourist destination. The plan will only have an impact after 2019. The tourism industry opposes the new plan, which says that the legislation “demonizes tourists.”
Algarve hotels have registered 7.4 million overnight stays in the first six months of the year, up 13.3% over the same period of 2015. Algarve Tourism stated that 2016 should be the best year ever. Through June, Faro airport recorded 3.1 million passengers, an increase of 18.6%
According to the Secretary of State for Tourism, Ana Mendes Godinho, a partnership with the Airbnb platform is in the pipeline to end illegal rentals. It is the hope that such collaboration will greatly reduce Local Lodging tax evasion.