The study on “Evaluation of the Impact of Local Accommodation in Portugal” is being developed by NOVA SBE based on combined data from Eurostat and the National Institute of Statistics (INE), at the request of the Associação do Alojamento Local in Portugal (ALEP).

According to preliminary results of the study, the number of overnight stays in AL in 2019 was 38.4 million, “representing about 40 percent of the total overnight stays in the national territory”. The authors point out that INE underestimates the total number of overnight stays in AL in Portugal because it only counts the number of overnight stays in establishments with 10 or more beds, which corresponded to 10.2 million overnight stays in 2019.

Official data from the European Union (CETUR/EUROSTAT) “point to a total of more than 28.2 million overnight stays in LA with less than 10 beds, in Portugal, in the same period” (not accounted for by INE), reads in the summary of the preliminary report.

Also according to the preliminary report, tourists who stayed in AL units in 2019 spent more than 8 billion euros in the Portuguese economy, “which corresponded to more than 8.5% of total exports of goods and services and about 3.8% of GDP”. Overnight stays in AL represented around 40% of the total overnight stays in the national territory in 2019, a percentage that was higher in some destinations, such as Lisbon and Porto.

The authors point out that “tourists' expenses with accommodation only correspond, on average, to 26% of their total expenses”, so, “without local accommodation, there is a risk of losing the income associated with AL” and also the remaining 74% spent by these tourists on other products and services.

Among these products and services, tourists staying in AL spent 5.8 billion euros on food and drinks and 4.2 billion euros on transport, “TAP being one of the main beneficiaries”, in addition to expenses in supermarkets, the 500 million euros spent on various tour operators, cultural services and recreation and leisure.

“In the absence of Local Accommodation and even in the face of the growth of a hotel occupancy rate of 15% throughout the year, to values never seen in annual terms, more than 23 million overnight stays would not occur. In direct terms, the loss of these overnight stays would also mean losing 4.7 billion euros in tourist spending, which corresponds to the destruction of 2.2% of the national GDP”, it is highlighted.

Over 1,000 hotels needed

To replace the current accommodation capacity in AL units in Portugal, it would be necessary to build 1,030 new hotels, “of which 168 in Porto, 169 in the Algarve and another 211 hotels in the city of Lisbon”. The study 'Impact Assessment of Local Accommodation in Portugal' is being developed by professors João Bernardo Duarte, Pedro Brinca and João Pedro Ferreira from Nova SBE.

"For 2022, figures for receiving tourism have not yet been made available by INE, but the figures advanced by the Government point to an even better year in terms of revenue", they highlight. Eurostat, on the other hand, placed the total number of overnight stays in Portugal, in 2022, in the same order of magnitude as in 2019, with 30,992,816 overnight stays registered in AL (it had been 31,064,000 in 2019), which indicates “the enormous resilience” of the sector, which last year “practically recovered from the pandemic”.