THE SUCCESS of the summer months have confirmed that Lisbon is firmly on the map as a leading European tourist destination.
The city’s legendary hospitality, fine climate and natural beauty have all contributed to drawing visitors from all over Europe this year, according to a survey carried out by the the Lisbon Tourism Observatory (OTL).
The RevPAR indicators, which show the ratio between room occupancy and room vacancies in hotels and guest houses, have shown a 3.5 per cent increase in the first half of this year against the same period in 2005. Part of the reason is the explosion in development of new, competitively priced hotels, which sprung up to meet the demands of Euro 2004.
OTL’s survey results highlighted that 60.8 per cent of Lisbon tourists come to the capital as their sole destination on a visit to Portugal, while 18.3 per cent say it is their main destination as part of an overall visit, and for 17.3 per cent it is a secondary destination. Around 46 per cent heard about Lisbon through family and friends who had been impressed by the city, while 31.5 per cent learnt about it through the internet.
The places most frequently visited in the city are Baixa Chiado, Avenida da Liberdade, Alfama, Belém, Bairro Alto, Parque das Nações, Estoril, Cascais and Sintra.
When questioned about their initial expectations, 54.9 per cent of Lisbon visitors said they had a “magnificent surprise”, while 14 per cent said Lisbon ended up being well above their initial expectations. Some 27.5 per cent said Lisbon met their expectations and only 2.8 per cent said Lisbon fell short.