Cautious optimism returns as tourism climbs 7.4% on 2009

Prime Minister José Sócrates welcomed news on Friday that the tourism industry in Portugal was showing signs of recovery.

According to the latest statistics from the Turismo de Portugal, which bases its findings on information gathered from hotels and travel agents, the first six months of the year showed an increase in receipts by 7.4 per cent on the same period in 2009.

The Prime Minister said in Braga on Friday that the latest figures showed that 2010 was “a year of recovery in the sector.”

“From January to June, tourism receipts grew 7.4 per cent and in June rose to 10 per cent,” he said, adding that the latest indications flowing in from tourism offices in the country’s most important regions such as the Algarve, Lisbon and Madeira pointed to a very positive year in terms of tourism.

A spokeswoman from the Algarve Tourism Board told the Algarve Resident on Monday that figures had generally improved in the Algarve largely thanks to two factors: more Portuguese had taken their holidays at home rather than going abroad and hotel occupancy rates from Spanish tourists were up on 2009 thanks to an aggressive and successful marketing campaign.

“We realised that Spain was particularly hard hit by the recession and so we stepped up our campaigns there with good results,” said the spokeswoman.

Passenger numbers

The Algarve Tourism Board said that definitive figures for July and August had not yet been released by the Portuguese Tourism Companies Association (Associação de Empresas Turísticas Portuguesas – AETP) but the tourism board’s President Nuno Aires had confirmed that “results were promising compared to 2009.”

Fernando Anastácio, the Vice President of the Algarve Tourism Board, added: “The latest numbers emerging from Faro Airport in terms of passenger numbers seem to indicate an increase of 12.2 per cent for July 2010, with improvements from both Spain, and other markets such as Germany and the United Kingdom.”  

José Sócrates had been speaking on Friday at the inauguration of a five-star hotel in Braga which represented an investment of 20 million Euros and created 80 new jobs.

The Prime Minister also quoted information released from the Ministry of the Economy which suggested that the numbers of passengers passing into Portuguese airports between January and August had risen by 10 per cent. C.G.