"There is an increase in demand. June was an interesting month and the expectations for August are not bad. Occupancy is interesting in hotels but, compared to 2019, there is still a sharp drop. What is expected is that only in 2023 the numbers go back to 2019 [before the covid-19 pandemic]," Fernando Neves, delegate in Azores of the Portugal's Hotel Association, told Lusa News Agency.

According to the businessman, for this month it is expected that the occupancy of hotels in the archipelago "will be above 60 percent", while rent-a-car companies are having difficulties in responding to requests, due to the pressure of demand and fleet reduction due to the Covid-19 pandemic, as summarized by Luís Rego, director of the Ilha Verde group.

In hotels, "August this year is a month with an interesting occupation, but nothing that compares to 2019", noted the delegate in the Azores of the Association of Hotel Industry of Portugal.

Despite the good prospects, Fernando Neves said that "there are no full hotels".

"We are only going to have a normal occupation rate again, at the level of 2019, in the best scenario in 2023", he reinforced.

For the official, the complete recovery of the tourism sector will depend upon many factors, such as vaccination against covid-19 worldwide and the behaviour of the "emitting markets" of tourists.

The president of the Azores Local Accommodation Association, Rui Correia, also has good prospects for August.

"Probably, we can be above 50 percent”, indicated Rui Correia.

According to the official, according to the "signs that members have been sending, July was a good month and there have been some last minute reservations", but "many are cancelled because these people are not able to rent cars".

But, he added, "the outlook is clearly good for the month of August and 50 percent of tourist overnight stays in the Azores are in local accommodation."

Rui Correia said that there is a "growth in the preference for local accommodation" of those visiting the Azores, with many trips made with the family, and "there is already some recovery", although "far from the values ​​of 2019".

However, there are no sold out spaces.

A different scenario occurs in rent-a-car in the Azores, with fewer offers available in their fleet, mainly in cheaper vehicles.

Luís Rego, director of the Ilha Verde group, said that a rent-a-car at this time of year, in particular “in the first 15 days of August”, but this year “a number of factors contributed to greater difficulty in answering”.

“Those who have already booked vehicles in advance have succeeded. At the last minute it's more difficult and customers end up with a car they didn't want”, justified the businessman to Lusa, adding that there was also a “greater demand” for rent-a-car by national and local tourists.

According to the businessman, this “greater difficulty” in rent-a-car in the Azores “is found between 20 July and 20 August”, a month of “greater pressure and greater demand”, where “most of the holidays in the national and local tourist”.

The difficulty in renting, he added, "is across the board, but where there is less offer it is in cheaper vehicles", because "there was a reduction in the rent-a-car fleet caused by the Covid-19 pandemic" and "the brands also cancelled some existing orders, because they closed their factories" for a while.

“We had, for a year and a half, the fleet stopped. A car is an asset that depreciates every day”, he explained.