Pre-pandemic, Lisbon and Porto led the growth of new accommodation registrations, often used to rent out properties through platforms such as Airbnb, but now it is the districts in the interior of the country that are now at the forefront of the race - as is the case of Bragança and Guarda.

The Local Accommodation Association in Portugal (ALEP) has also highlighted the trend for holidays away from cities including "the most innovative destinations such as the countryside, surfing and nature".

According to a report by idealista/news, although Lisbon and Porto often appear in the spotlight when it comes to AL, the truth is that they only represent 28 percent of the offer. This means that 72 percent of the AL supply is outside large urban centres. “In the most innovative destinations such as the countryside, surfing and nature, AL represents more than 70 percent of overnight stays”, reads the report on “AL in Lisbon in a pandemic period”.

With regard to the balance between new registrations and cancellations during the pandemic, Lisbon and Porto were the most affected destinations – they only grew by 0.7 percent and 0.6 percent, respectively. “They used to lead growth and now, during the pandemic, for the first time in history there was a reduction in the supply of AL in these municipalities”, says ALEP.

“The main highlight of the AL was the interior”, they emphasise. Districts, previously not very expressive, led the growth in the offer of accommodation during the two years of the pandemic, as is the case of Bragança (+50 percent of registrations), Guarda (+47 percent), Portalegre (+36 percent) and Vila Real (+32 percent).

AL importance

What the data also shows is that thousands of families depend on the AL business in Portugal.

"Currently more than 55,000 families in the country depend directly on AL, most of them work in a private capacity or as micro-enterprises", says the report.

The billing volume of Local Accommodation suffered a drop relative to 2019 of 70-75 percent in 2020 and of about 55-60 percent in 2021 and urban centres (Lisbon and Porto) were the most affected destinations, they conclude.