“Vaccines help little or not at all in recovery of Tourism in Portugal”

This is the headline today in Dinheiro Vivo which cites a new study by the European Commission showing the vaccination programme over the last three months has done little or nothing to accelerate the recovery of Portugal’s tourism sector.

Indeed, the study has seen the Commission cutting its forecast for the country’s economic growth this year. It now believes tourism will not fully recover (to pre-pandemic levels) until 2023 – a full half year after the economy in general.

The delay, says DV, “reflects the extreme dependence and exposition of the economy to foreign tourism”.

Yes, there will be a recovery, but it will be “very slow. Even with the vaccines”.

There is also the problem of incoming tourists. Explains DV, “the lack of vaccines in some countries could halt or at least slow down the recovery of tourism in Portugal. This is the case with Brazil, for example, a very important tourist market” but a country, by dint of its sanitary situation, that is still barred from entry into Europe.

Paradoxically, the Commission says “developments in 2021 and 2022 will be largely determined by the success of vaccination programmes in controlling the pandemic, and by the rapidity with which governments suspend restrictions on activities and the circulation of people”.

DV’s article then does a bit of u-turn lurching towards the ‘dark side’ – or rather quoting the Commission doing so:

“In 2022, Covid-19 will continue to be a public health problem, despite the high proportion of the vaccinated population (including renewed protection when needed, for example, due to new variants). 

“Therefore it is assumed that some limited containment measures will be implemented if necessary, warns Brussels.”

Help coming in form of Brussels’ ‘bazooka’ (Plan for recovery and Resilience)

This is what will power Portugal’s growth more than anything else, says the Commission, although it has cut its forecast for growth this year from 4.1% to 3.9%. That said, the understanding is that growth next year will be higher than the Commission perceived three months ago (4.3%), reaching as much as 5.1%. This is actually more than the Portuguese government itself has predicted.