Hotel association denies “record-breaking” year

The Portuguese government is having a hard time convincing people that 2014 was a “record-breaking year for tourism”. Just yesterday (February 25) at Lisbon’s tourism fair BTL representatives of Portugal’s hotel association (AHP) claimed the country’s tourism numbers in 2014 were not as good as they were in 2007 and that the government has to think more clearly before spouting terms like “record-breaking”.

“We still haven’t reached the occupation levels and the RevPar (revenue per available room) of 2007, thus we have to watch the way we present the data,” said Luís Veiga, the president of AHP.

According to the association’s statistics, occupation levels reached 62.74% in 2014 as opposed to 66.52% in 2007. The association also revealed that last year’s RevPar was placed at €43.24, while in 2008 it was €44.12.

He added that the data the National Statistics Institute (INE) puts out “does not necessarily reflect the same reality as AHP”, as INE counts all forms of accommodation while AHP only takes hotels into account.

According to AHP data, the Algarve doesn’t even make the top-three in terms of hotel room occupation. Lisbon was the main tourism destination with a 74% occupation level, followed by Madeira (73%) and Greater Porto (65%).

Veiga also criticised the disparity of prices charged at hotels across the country and said that “two thirds of hotels still present negative results”.

He also admitted that he is worried about the competition from property owners renting out their houses under the ‘alojamento local’ (local lodging) regime and slammed the “absurd fiscal burden” the hotel sector faces.

As the Resident reported earlier this week (see story, André Jordan – variously dubbed the Father of Algarve Tourism – has set out how the situation is far from perfect in Portugal’s tourism sector in an article entitled ‘Illusion and Reality in the Tourism Business’.

By MICHAEL BRUXO [email protected]