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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.
Local Lodging “has not been a problem for the Algarve. It’s being very positive for the economy and urban regeneration,” according to Faro mayor, Rogério Bacalhau. The Algarve’s municipalities have no plans to create quotas or “containment zones” for Local Lodging, a possibility opened by recent legislative reforms. The Algarve concentrates the majority of “AL” accommodations in Portugal, far outweighing Lisbon and Porto combined.
The Secretary of State for Tourism, Ana Mendes Godinho, announced in a parliament hearing on the subject: “I do not agree that many people have been expelled by Local Lodging. Instead, it has served to rehabilitate our inner cities. We have to manage the evolution of Local Lodging in order to ensure that the cities retain their authenticity. This is not only a concern of tourism but for everyone, including guaranteeing the right to housing.”
Banning short-lived Airbnb accommodation in bustling areas, diverting cruise ships from the centre, boosting the tourist tax to almost double, and even limiting “fun” activities such as boating or Segway tours are just a few of the measures that are on the table to control tourism in Amsterdam.
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.