According to a report by ECO, it was only in the North and Centre of Portugal that the decrease was less than the European Union average, while the Algarve was the most affected region, falling 15.6 percent with the impact of the pandemic according to Eurostat data.

Although some recovery is already being felt in the region, “it will still take a few years to recover tourist activity”, the mayor of Faro, Rogério Bacalhau, told ECO.

Gross value added (GVA) decreased by 5.9 percent in the EU in 2020 compared to 2019. This indicator decreased in all regions of the EU bloc, except for four: the three Irish regions and Mayotte, an overseas region of France, according to the European Statistics Office.

In Portugal, the decline was different according to the regions. The largest was in the Algarve, followed by Madeira (13.4 percent), both places whose economy is heavily dependent on tourism. “As the Algarve is a region where tourism is the main activity, the pandemic had a much greater impact than in the other regions, as production dropped drastically”, said Rogério Bacalhau.

The mayor of Faro points out that “the recovery was very difficult”, namely because people remained “afraid” of Covid-19, and it is also worth noting that “there was some support from the State, but clearly insufficient to face the difficulties that the entrepreneurs passed”.

Looking to the future, the recovery will “depend a lot on what happens in other European countries, the main sources of tourists”. Even so, “we will not return to the levels of 2018 or 2019” this year because Covid-19 “continues to be among us”, underlines the official. Because of this “tourist activity will take a few years to recover”, he said.

As for the remaining regions of the country, in the Lisbon Metropolitan Area the reduction was 8.3 percent, in the Azores 8 percent and in the Alentejo 7.1 percent. In the North of Portugal, the reduction in regional GVA was 5.7 percent in 2020, and in the Centre it was only 4.7 percent compared to the previous year.