“Today, on the Booking digital platform (for booking accommodation and hotels) 37 hostels were registered in greater Porto, in 2019 there were 62 hostels. The reduction has been brutal”, says Diogo Nogueira, owner of Being Porto Hostel, located on Rua de Belmonte, next to Palácio da Bolsa and Mercado Ferreira Borges, which is currently closed for improvement works.
Although Diogo Nogueira’s hostel has not closed, largely thanks to the location, but also to the drop in the supply of local accommodation apartments, the entrepreneur says that he knows “many people” in Porto who could not overcome problems relating to the tourism sector due to Covid-19.
“Several hostels, 'guest-houses' and subleased apartments for Local Accommodation (AL) could not hang on due to financial incapacity and had to close”, said Diogo Nogueira, explaining that many people had invested in renting apartments to later transform them into AL, that "completely failed".
Their business “screamed”, that is, their business “completely went bankrupt” and they ceased activity, as they had no tourists. Without income, they were unable to pay the rent to the landlords of the leased properties and “more than 90% of these apartments for AL ceased to exist” he told Lusa.
Nuno Ferreira, a tour operator that manages about 50 apartments in the heart of the city of Porto, namely in the areas of Coliseu, Ribeira, São Bento, Poveiros and Sá da Bandeira, says that for the business to survive the pandemic, which has lasted for almost two years, they had to put several apartments on a mid-term contract, that is, with a duration of six months or more “to mitigate economic damage” and in the hope that in the summer it will be possible to recover.
“What tenants are paying is just to cover expenses and keep their heads above water, as mid-term contracts don't make a profit. Then we have to pay the real landlord, as many AL apartments are rented”, explains Nuno Ferreira, noting that there are several maintenance and internet costs still to be paid.
The municipal tourist tax and water prices in Porto, which are more expensive for companies than for families, are other costs that entrepreneurs in Porto's AL had and have to face during the pandemic crisis.