Canada Association of Tourism Employees

Slight Optimism for Tourism in Portugal On account of Vaccination Passports

Tourism is one of the sectors hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic in Portugal. The figures published by the National Statistics Institute (INE) show a constant decline in guests, overnight stays and profits in tourist housing units. February 2021 is no exception.

Preliminary data from the statistical office show that in February the tourist accommodations accommodated 208,200 guests and 472,900 overnight stays, which corresponds to a decrease of 86.9 percent and 87.7 percent respectively compared to the same period of the previous year.

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, February was the third month with the largest drop in overnight stays, which was only exceeded by April and May 2020 (-97.4% and -95.8%, respectively),” according to the INE. Most of the guests and overnight stays come from Portugal. Of the approximately 208,000 guests, only 33,565 were not based on Portuguese territory. These foreign guests were responsible for almost 143,000 overnight stays last month.

The North region was the region in which the most guests were registered in February (just over 62,000 and almost 102,000 overnight stays). However, the Lisbon metropolitan area was the region with the most overnight stays (58,600 people and 129,400 overnight stays).

Unlike other activities, hotels did not have to close either during the first or second lockdown, which began in January of this year. However, the lack of demand has forced many facilities to keep their doors closed to reduce the damage. INE data shows that 61.8% of tourist accommodations were closed or not registering guests in February, a slight increase from 57% in January.

The fall in earnings in tourism in Portugal in February is still unknown. In a few days, the statistical office will publish the final data on tourism activity, including profits.

The current situation is positive again

Portugal emerged from a critical period in January 2021 when it led the worst scenarios in the world, its hospitals were full and the daily stats were consternation that seemed endless to win the best scenario country in Europe, title, to become that it is occupied now. The radical improvement in the number of infections was caused by the second lockdown, which came into force in January. Vacation travel is currently banned, flights are banned for certain destinations (UK, Brazil), restaurants are closed; Museums and art galleries are also closed, but should be open on April 5th

Improvements in 2021

In the past few days, the government has been more optimistic about tourism activities this year. Secretary of State for Tourism Rita Marques told Lusa that the “best estimates” for national tourism by the end of 2021 indicate “20-30% growth” compared to 2020.

Rita Marques answered a question about the estimates for tourism in Portugal in 2021 and said that the “best estimates [of the Government] are geared towards international organizations ”. “Most international organizations say that if vaccinations in Europe continue to develop appropriately, we will likely end 2021 with 20-30% growth compared to 2020.” she stressed. Portugal hopes to be able to travel fully again soon, but that shouldn’t be before mid-May. The opening depends on the vaccination passports to be issued by the EU.

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