Local accommodation (AL) in the Douro is expanding and contributing to the diversification of the tourism offer in Portugal. There are currently 714 units, with a total of 3,349 beds, according to the Porto and North Tourism Board.

This summer, hotel units in the Douro expect to reach 100% occupancy, overcoming pre-pandemic levels. The evolution of this sector is contributing to the diversification of the tourism offer, an offer characterised by a wide range of increasingly qualified local hotel units that are complementary to the traditional hotels and farms in the region," said the president of the Porto and North Tourism Board (TPNP), Luís Pedro Martins.

Luís Pedro Martins considered that "the increase in tourist demand in the Douro, characterised by consumers with different motivations and purchasing power, is one of the main driving forces behind the growth of the local accommodation market in the region".

"In this way, AL assumes a predominant role in the economic recovery of territories, contributing to remodel historic houses and ruins, turning them into places of tourist interest," he stressed.

"Especially in low density territories, as is the case of the Douro, this growth can contribute to the "economic dynamism of several local agents, namely local producers, restaurants, handicraft shops and commerce", as well as to the "creation of new jobs".

"In this sector, it is quite visible the need to find a balance between the tourism development of AL companies and the sustainable and environmental responsibility that they must assume. In this case, this is even more important as we are talking about the Douro," he stressed, recalling the classification as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2001.

Asked about the evolution of tourism in the Douro in 2022, he said that "it was a difficult start for all regions at the beginning of the year, with occupancy rates no higher than 25%. However, it gradually improved and since Easter occupancy rates have eventually improved," he stressed.

Citing data from Turismo de Portugal, he said that the occupancy rate in hotels, tourist villages and tourist flats in the Douro between January and June was 45.6 percent and that for this summer the prospects "are encouraging," as it is expected that "many hotel units will reach 100 percent occupancy.

The expectations for 2023 are "very positive". In addition, the Douro was considered the European Wine City, whose motto will be "Douro All Around Wine", strengthening the reputation in the international context and contributing to attract even more and "better" tourists.

For Luís Pedro Martins, the next "challenge is the adoption of sustainable tourism practices".