Hotels emptier but Portugal’s good image keeps hopes up

news: Hotels emptier but Portugal’s good image keeps hopes up

LISBON HOTELS are more and more “left to the flies”, to coin a Portuguese expression.

Following an upsurge in occupancy rates due to the Euro 2004 and Rock in Rio-Lisbon, figures have fallen right back to their lowest levels since the beginning of 2004. Between January and April 2005, hotels in the Lisbon region were emptier than in the first three months of 2004 (-2.2 per cent).

Worse still is that the normally busy months of May and June look set to be even worse, according to Vítor Costa, director general for the Turismo de Lisboa, the Lisbon tourist board. “Hopefully, the 2.2 million guests we’ve catered for so far this year will rise this summer, coupled with the good international image we garnered in 2004,” he concluded.

The year 2004 was a particularly good year for Lisbon hotels, which increased occupancy rates by around 20 per cent bucking a downward trend from 2000 to 2003.

Generally speaking, Lisbon is in the premier league of most sought after European city destinations for short breaks after Paris, London, Rome, Amsterdam, Prague, Budapest, Barcelona and Berlin.

According to data provided by the tourist board, the most popular places to visit in Lisbon are Avenida da Liberdade, Baixa Chiado, Rossio and Restauradores, Alfama, Bélem and Bairo Alto. Museums and monuments registering most ticket receipts are St. George’s Castle, Jerónimos Monastery, the Oceanarium and the Bélem Cultural Centre, while the international groups most likely to visit Lisbon are the Spanish, followed by the Germans, Italians, French, Americans and British. C.G.