Easter bookings “growing at absolutely unexpected pace”

Bookings for the Easter season in Portugal are growing at an “absolutely unexpected pace.”

Speaking to Lusa news agency, the president of the Portuguese Association of Travel Agencies and Tourism (APAVT) said the increase is “surely in the two-digits” despite inflation having taken its toll on prices.

This growth may be mostly explained by the fact that the Covid-19 pandemic was still affecting travel in the first three months of 2022, said Pedro Costa Ferreira.

When asked which is the most popular destination for Portuguese tourists booking their Easter getaway, the APAVT boss said that the paradigm has shifted in the last decade, with national holidaymakers choosing destinations all over the country.

Meanwhile, foreign tourists continue to opt for the most popular destinations.

“We are talking about the Algarve, Madeira, and the Azores, although truthfully demand is starting to increase everywhere. Evidently, demand is greater in the Algarve and Madeira,” he said, adding however that the Alentejo, Centre and North are registering bookings which are incomparably better than they were 10 years ago.

Pedro Costa Ferreira also said that the Easter season is kicking off earlier than usual, with more flights per week, more hotels available and more travellers using Porto Airport due to the “difficulty in finding slots in Lisbon”.

These positive developments are all happening despite rising prices across the sector.

“Prices are higher because of inflation. But even so, bookings are going very well,” he said.

The association boss also provided some insight into the international destinations that are attracting the most interest from Portuguese holidaymakers: Cape Verde, Tunisia, Egypt, Dominican Republic and Mexico.

“(These are) destinations with bookings which I would say are higher than what the macroeconomic situation might indicate,” said Costa Ferreira.

Pedro Costa Ferreira’s statements came ahead of the BTL tourism fair, which was due to begin on Wednesday as the Resident went to press and will run until Sunday (March 5).

This edition is expected to be “one of the best ever,” with the entirety of the slots at the International Lisbon Fair venue booked and the largest number of foreign destinations ever promoted at the event, said BTL manager Dália Palma.

By Michael Bruxo
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