2019 has been another record year for Portuguese tourism. Revenue is expected to top €18 billion – signifying another leap on the €16.8 billion registered in 2018.
Speaking to AHP, the association of hoteliers, in Lisbon this week, Secretary of State for Tourism Rita Marques said estimates all point to last year topping the results of the year before “which was already a good year!”
In numbers, data points to “very close to 27 million holidaymakers” registering a bumper 70.2 million ‘sleepovers’ (this refers to the numbers staying in hotels, guest-houses and Alojamento Local).
Last September, said Marques, saw revenue hit the €2 billion threshold “for the first time”.
Packaging the picture in a neat soundbite, she said “for every five euros of revenue generated, one euro is from tourism”.
And objectives for 2020 are to keep building on current success: a growth of 3.5% in sleepovers by foreign holidaymakers, and a further reduction in ‘seasonality’ to 36.2%.
This latter point needs clarifying: seasonality has previously been the bane of Portuguese tourism: the fact that holidaymakers favour the summer months, and leave destinations eerily empty through the winter. Every year now, more and more visitors are arriving ‘out of season’. The government’s focus this year is on increasing those visitors by 0.2%.
Meantime ‘challenges’ include “reinforcing air links, training-up further human resources, promoting Portugal on the international stage, and developing new niche markets for lovers of wine, books and sport as well as for LGBTQI travellers (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transexual, Transvestites and Transgender)”.
Said Marques: “Very soon we will be launching plans of action for all these (markets)”.