President of the association of Portuguese hotels Raul Martins says the majority of hotels will start to reopen in July. “Probably some will open in June”, he added, saying a special ‘sanitary guarantee’ is being prepared to give clients confidence.
As Martins addressed journalists in Lisbon yesterday, travel blog Portugalist published a survey which suggests holidaymakers are ‘counting the days’ before it is safe to return.
James Cave of Portugalist told us readers have been heartened by news stories on Portugal’s response to the coronavirus crisis. Over 78% said they thought Portugal had done a good job.
The Resident too is receiving daily emails, particularly from Brits, who have planned holidays and want to know when the country will be ready for them.
This level of ‘confidence’ that Portugal continues to represent a safe destination is what will help transform disaster into something a little less damaging.
PM Costa said yesterday that he has “a special message of hope and thanks to all who work in the tourism sector: I know we are living in times of anguish”, he said, “but tourism in Portugal will be golden again”.
Indeed, according to Portugalist’s survey, the majority of people said they hope to visit the country in the autumn or winter.
Said James Cave: “This gives anyone in the tourism industry some interesting insights into how people might travel differently this year”.
Nonetheless, there is still some way to go. Hearing representatives from the sector yesterday, PM Costa was asked for an extension of support measures offered to businesses as the industry gradually comes back to work.
Said Carlos Moura, vice-president of AHRESP (the Portuguese association of hoteliers and restaurateurs): “We won’t be able to start our recovery, which in some cases may not happen until the end of May, if support isn’t kept in place to ensure businesses survive and don’t have to resort to mass-dismissals”.
Restaurants will be among businesses returning during the month of May, though restrictions on the number of clients and indeed staff have still to be worked out.
To consult the Portugalist survey, click here