Tourists from the United Kingdom continue to represent the largest market of visitors to Portugal, with numbers increasing in the country during 2019.
Fears that Brexit could have a serious impact on tourism in Portugal have been dispelled with new figures from the National Statistics Institute (INE) showing that the UK remains the main market for tourists in the country.
According to the INE, between 2013 and 2019, the UK market showed an increase of 51.2 percent in the number of guests and 32.2 percent in the number of overnight stays.
The data from the INE showed that the preferred destinations for British guests were the Algarve (63.4 percent of overnight stays in the market), Madeira (18.5 percent) and the Lisbon Metropolitan area (10.8 percent).
According to INE, in the Algarve, overnight stays by Britons represented 37.3 percent of the total overnight stays of non-residents in the region (37.0 percent in 2018) and were the “most significant” market, whilst in Madeira 26.6 percent of overnight stays of non-residents were from UK guests (27.3 percent in the previous year).
In 2019, the British market registered increases in all regions of Portugal, with the exception of Madeira (-7.5 percent), highlighting the growth registered in the North (+19.2 percent), followed by the Metropolitan area of Lisbon ( +5.7 percent).
INE data show that, in the last year, hospitality concentrated 91.9 percent of overnight stays by Britons, with emphasis on the types of hotels (48.1 percent) and apartment hotels (21.3 percent), followed by local accommodation (7.2 percent) and tourism in rural areas and housing (0.9 percent).
“In hotels, demand was centered on five- and four-star units, whilst four-star units stood out particularly in the typology of apartment hotels,” said the INE statement.
Meanwhile, in the Algarve, 2019 was described as an “historic” year for tourism by the regional tourism board.
According to preliminary data from the INE, the region reached the historic figures of 20.95 million overnight stays, 5.07 million guests, and €1.23 billion total income.
Tourist demand in the Algarve showed a positive performance in all months of the year, with the number of guests increasing between January and December, with a very residual exception during October (decrease from 459 928 guests to 459 535).
In the Algarve there were also positive signs for tourists from the United Kingdom, whose number of guests reached 1.19 million (+7.1 percent). Also relevant was the Italian market that grew 26.8 percent in the number of guests to the Algarve (a total of 87,700) and the growth of emerging markets such as Brazil, which increased 26.5 percent in the number of guests, and the United States of America with a 19.8 percent growth in the number of guests.
For João Fernandes, president of the Algarve Tourism Region (RTA), “the results of tourism in the Algarve for 2019 confirm that we are, in fact, the main tourist region in the country. These results are proof of the work developed by public and private agents and reveal the strong resilience of the sector and its capacity to adapt to contingencies in an especially demanding year”.
He added: “Proof of this ability are the facts: we achieved a good performance in the British market, thanks to structured strategies for anticipating Brexit; we conquered a greater demand in global markets such as Brazil and the USA and we registered a growth in guests throughout the year, reflecting the region’s strong commitment to diversifying the tourist offer”.