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Tourism jobs grow for first time in six years

For the first time in six years, Portugal’s tourism sector has created more jobs than it has lost. So says Secretary of State for Tourism Ana Mendes Godinho, who told Diário de Notícias that the sector generated 45,000 jobs between January and September.

Restaurants account for most (28,000) of the new jobs, as the sector gained leverage to hire more employees after a lower 13% VAT levy was reintroduced in July, she said.

Data also shows that the number of tourism workers registered with the Social Security has also grown from 302,000 last year to 348,000 in 2016.

In fact, tourism now employs 8.2% of Portugal’s workforce, with jobs growing mostly in the tourist entertainment (28.2%), lodging (+22.6%) and restaurant (+12.8%) sectors.

The Algarve is also named the region where tourism employment grew the most this year (+58.35%).

“Tourism is breaking records in terms of the creation of wealth, jobs and the number of visitors,” Godinho told DN.

Though the secretary of state is aware the positive results might plunge this winter, she believes Portugal is on the path to becoming a year-round tourist destination.

“If we compare this September to last year’s, we have 30,000 more people working in tourism. We are being able to transform it into an activity that happens all year long,” she said.

Portugal is expecting another record-breaking year for tourism after 2015 was dubbed the best ever for the sector.

The country welcomed 17.4 million tourists in 2015, a number that specialists believe will be surpassed this year.

As DN explains: “Portugal – just like Spain, Italy and Greece – has benefitted from the political instability of the Middle East and the refugee crisis which has led many tourists away from rival destinations such as the North of Africa.”

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