July in Algarve surpasses pre-pandemic levels

After “two terrible years” blighted by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Algarve’s tourism sector is finally finding things to celebrate once again.

Provisional data from the Algarve hoteliers association (AHETA) shows that 87.7% of hotel rooms in the region were booked in July – a 4.3 percentage increase compared to 2019, “the best year ever for tourism” in Portugal and the Algarve.

“It’s a fantastic occupation level,” AHETA boss Hélder Martins told the Resident shortly after the numbers were revealed. “We had been approaching 2019’s numbers in the last few months, and in June we had been 3.3pp behind 2019”.

Portugal remains the Algarve’s main market, Martins told us, with the number of Portuguese holidaymakers increasing 4.4pp.

The UK follows in second, despite a 2.2pp decrease compared to 2019.

Martins highlighted a 1.1pp increase in American tourists, a “result of the attempts to diversify the Algarve’s markets”.

While there is finally some light at the end of the tunnel for the hoteliers and entrepreneurs that were able to survive the Covid-19 crisis, the AHETA president also recalled that “many did not make it.” 

“And now, just as we were emerging from the pandemic, we are being faced with a new set of challenges such as the war in Ukraine, water shortages and a lack of workers,” he stressed.

The good news is that the tourism sector is “resilient” and capable of facing any challenges that come its way, Martins added.

“After what we went through, it makes us happy to go to a beach, a restaurant or a themepark and see it bustling with people.”

By Michael Bruxo