60,000 jobs are expected to be lost in Portugal’s tourism sector this year. In an interview with Reuters news agency, Rita Marques, secretary of state for Tourism said forecasts are for tourists only to start returning in any significant numbers during the third trimester of 2021 “but everything depends on the success of the vaccine for Covid-19”.
That said, Portuguese tourism isn’t expected to bounce back to levels enjoyed pre-pandemic before 2023.
The Algarve will be the worst affected region, said Ms Marques. Unemployment in the region has already leapt by 134% compared to last year’s figures, and Britain’s exit from the European Union is “likely to see a reduction in the number of British tourists”, she said.
Ms Marques’ ‘solution’ for the situation is to focus on the need for all regions to ‘diversify their economic model’ and thus become less reliant on tourism.
As reports have stressed, the secretary of state did not give any examples of what forms this diversification might take. Critics have dubbed her comments as “wishful thinking”.