Portugal’s tourism industry is expected to rebound to pre-pandemic levels in 2023, according to a study by the World Travel and Tourism Council, a global business forum for the travel and tourism industries.

The sector could be worth up to €39.5 billion next year, making up 17.4% of the Portuguese national economy.

A further 3,200 jobs are expected to be created. The tourism industry is expected to reach over one million jobs by the end of 2023.

According to the latest WTTC data, GDP associated with travel and tourism is expected to grow annually at an average of 3.4% over the next decade, more than three times the 1.1% growth rate of the country's overall economy, reaching over €50 billion (20.2% of GDP) by 2032.

Forecasts indicate that the sector will be able to create almost 193,000 jobs over the next ten years, with an average of over 19,000 new jobs per year, reaching more than 1.1 million jobs by 2032.

"After the devastating impact of covid-19, Portugal is showing a strong recovery and by the end of this year the sector's total contribution to GDP is expected to grow by 54.7% to more than €35.8 billion, corresponding to 16.2% of total GDP," the statement read.

"Employment in the sector [in 2022] is expected to grow by 5.6%, to reach almost more than 953,000 jobs,” it continued.

According to WTTC's partner in data analysis, ForwardKeys, "the latest flight booking data shows a promising summer" for Portugal. It “shows that it (...) is set to be the fourth most popular European destination this summer, with a 179% annual increase in international arrivals."

The data shows flight bookings surpassing pre-pandemic levels, with bookings from the US, Netherlands, Denmark, and Germany increasing by 41%, 36%, 29%, and 11% respectively.

The report noted that the sector's total contribution to GDP accounted for 17.1% (€37.6 billion) in 2019, dropping to just 8.7% (€17.4 billion) in 2020.

The sector was also responsible for more than a million jobs, "before the pandemic put an end to international travel, resulting in a loss of 160,000 jobs (15.6%), falling to 850,000 in 2020."

The report says that 2021 saw the start of recovery in this sector, as it rose 32.6% year-on-year to reach €23.1 billion. However, the recovery in jobs was slower, with only 50,000 jobs created, reaching a total of 900,000.

The WTTC maintained "that the sector's contribution to the economy and employment could have been higher were it not for the impact of the Omicron variant, which led to a wobbly recovery across the globe, with many countries reintroducing severe travel restrictions."