NEW RECORD: Algarve hotels with 95% of hotel rooms booked in August
Photo: INÊS LOPES/OPEN MEDIA

NEW RECORD: Algarve hotels with 95% of rooms booked in August

There were barely any empty hotel rooms in the Algarve in August, the region’s hoteliers association (AHETA) has revealed.

AHETA boss Hélder Martins says that between 94% and 95% of hotel rooms were booked in August, a new record compared to the 93% registered in August 2019.

“We still don’t have all the final data, but we can say with certainty that it will be the largest number ever,” Martins told the Resident on Wednesday.

Portuguese holidaymakers continue to represent the majority of the region’s visitors, followed by the British market. Nudging its way into the region’s list of most important markets is the USA (a tendency which seems to be growing by the month), while the number of Germans holidaying in the Algarve is dropping.

The exact numbers are due to be revealed sometime during the first week of September, Martins said.

Hotel bookings in July had already surpassed pre-pandemic levels, reaching 87.8% – a 4.3 percentage increase compared to 2019, “the best year ever for tourism” in Portugal and the Algarve.

Hélder Martins, president of AHETA

It’s an “amazing” comeback for Algarve tourism after two nightmarish years blighted by the Covid-19 pandemic, which brought the entire global tourism industry to a halt.

Hoteliers and tourism officials are hoping that the record-breaking numbers will continue in 2023, but several clouds continue to loom over these positive expectations.

A new cause for concern, said Martins, is the rising inflation rate in the UK, the Algarve’s most important foreign market.

US investment bank Goldman Sachs warned that UK inflation could soar above 22% next year if energy prices continue their upward spiral, an announcement that came shortly after British households were hit with a projected 80% increase in their energy bills in the coming months.

But there are other issues threatening the Algarve tourism sector’s continued growth, from the energy crisis threatening Europe – which has already led Portugal to prepare an energy-saving plan – to the extreme drought which is leading Algarve boroughs to implement more and more restrictions as the situation continues to worsen.

Martins, however, remains optimistic that better days are ahead.

“Some degree of rain will have to fall,” he said, adding that authorities say water supply is guaranteed until at least the end of next year.

“What’s certain is that we were not expecting such a good year this year, but it still happened. Demand for next year continues strong, the Algarve remains in the minds of travellers, so we remain confident that 2023 may prove to be another record-breaking year,” the hotelier association boss added.

By Michael Bruxo
michael.bruxo@algarveresident.com