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HomeAway reports landslide holiday bookings for 2014

Oblivious to the illegal rentals controversy playing out across the country, online holiday bookings website HomeAway has reported that business is booming for 2014.
Reservations for properties in the Alentejo alone have increased by 94% this year, said a spokesperson, while more and more Portuguese are apparently booking their holidays via the internet.
What the reservations portal did not mention, however, was the legal implications of renting second or indeed first homes.
News of the Portuguese government’s crackdown on non-registered holiday rentals seems to have bypassed HomeAway, which instead told iOnline that the boom in business would help homeowners “reduce their mortgages, pay condominium expenses and upgrade their homes (with pools, air conditioning, Jacuzzi, a new kitchen, garden furniture, etc.)
This year more than any other shows Portuguese tourists opting to stay in Portugal, said HomeAway’s Portugal representative Sofia Dias – with bookings for the Algarve up 65%, and reservations for the rest of the country as a whole up 75%.
The Alentejo is enjoying a boom year, with a 94% increase, she said.
In Portugal since 2010, the HomeAway website carries more than 570,000 properties advertised in more than 160 countries. Over 13,200 properties are located in Portugal – and while this brings in business for both HomeAway and its clients, it is not quite so lucrative for the Portuguese government.
Indeed, the government crackdown on illegal renters is focusing on properties advertised on sites such as HomeAway.
How that will affect the Portuguese branch or the company’s business is unknown.
Jornal de Negócios reports websites based in Portugal will be liable to fines if they carry properties that are not registered with the authorities.
But for the purposes of the iOnline interview, Sofia Dias was at pains to point out that HomeAway was used by as many as 310,000 Portuguese tourists every year, and that Portugal is now the 7th most popular country on the rental market in Europe.