Lisbon overtakes Algarve

The dominance of the Algarve as Portugal´s premier destination is under threat, according to figures released by the Portugal Tourism board.

Long seen as the jewel in the crown of Portuguese tourism, the Algarve has been affected by the current economic crisis, with hotel occupancy levels falling and tourism businesses looking to new ways to attract visitors to the region.

In 2008, the Algarve was the number one region in the country for tourism, receiving 569 million euros in revenue from the industry.

However, figures for the first three months of 2009 have shown that Lisbon is now receiving more tourist euros than the Algarve.

Between January and March of this year Lisbon saw an income of 92.8 million euros from tourists, almost double the 51.2 million euros received in the Algarve in the same period.

Reasons behind the changes in fortune have been cited as being due to the revival of the short city breaks in favour of longer and more costly traditional beach holidays during the global financial crisis.

The overall impact of the crisis on tourism in the Algarve during 2009 will only become apparent at the end of the year when the final statistics have been calculated.