tourist in Tavira
Photo: Associação de Turismo do Algarve

Algarve hotel bookings “looking very good” for New Year

Algarve expects an even better occupancy for New Year’s than in 2022

Hotel bookings in the Algarve for the New Year’s Eve season are “looking very good” and should follow the positive trend seen throughout 2023, the President of the Algarve Tourism Board (RTA) has said.

“With the number of bookings already made, but also the expectation of last-minute bookings, the outlook is very good,” André Gomes told Lusa news agency, adding that he expects the Algarve will reach 20 million overnight stays by the end of the year.

Although New Year’s is more than three weeks away, and there is still no precise data on bookings, the tourism chief said the “very positive” expectations are based on feedback he has received from the sector’s representative associations and some hoteliers.

“Some agents have said that they have worked very well during this end-of-year period. Last week, I spoke to one or two hoteliers and one of them, for example, told me that he was completely full for the end of the year,” said the president of the Algarve Tourism Board.

These optimistic expectations are also based on the “good influx” of Portuguese tourists that the Algarve’s hotel sector saw on the December 1 bank holiday, the first of four long weekends throughout the month.

“It started right at the beginning of the month and until the end of the month we have, if I’m not mistaken, four long weekends, due to public holidays and festivities. And this is that opportunity that we’ve often referred to that makes Portuguese tourists come to the Algarve,” said André Gomes.

Demand from the Portuguese market is “stronger and more pressing” during the festive period, although very much subject to last-minute bookings, taking into account the weather and the reasons for visits proposed by hotels and local authorities, he said.

He highlighted Portimão and Albufeira among the main “locations to visit, with Christmas villages, entertainment for children and a host of initiatives”.

Other municipalities also have attractions that are certain to pull tourists, such as the popular nativity scene in Vila Real de Santo António, and a salt crib in Castro Marim, he said.

There will also be a free concert by the Algarve Orchestra, with conductor Martim Sousa Tavares, in the arrivals area of Faro’s Gago Coutinho Airport on December 21.

In addition to the usual foreign markets, such as the UK and Ireland, André Gomes stressed that the Algarve is seeing “very strong growth” from the North American, Italian and French markets, which should continue into the festive season.

Given these figures, he believes that hotel occupancy in the Algarve on New Year’s Eve will rise compared to last year, in line with the “level of growth” seen between January and October 2023.

During that period, the Algarve recorded more guests (7.2% more), more overnight stays (6.1% more) and more overall revenue (11%) than in the same period in 2022.

“We’re close to reaching the 20 million overnight stays mark and I believe that, by the end of the year, we’ll reach that figure, making this the best year ever in terms of tourism in the region,” concluded the president of the RTA.

Source: LUSA