The study carried out by the Association of Hotels, Restaurants and Similar Companies of Portugal (AHRESP), in partnership with the University Institute of Lisbon (ISCTE), characterises the 32,405 existing houses in the district of Faro, between July 2018 and June 2019.

The sample is based on responses from 233 entrepreneurs to surveys, covering 2,947 AL units, including apartments (77 percent), followed by housing (21.3 percent), accommodation establishments (1.3 percent), hostels (0.3 percent) and rooms (0.1 percent).

According to the data presented at the Albufeira Municipal Auditorium, the local housing market generated a turnover of €981.5 million, which is equivalent to 19 percent of the region’s Gross Domestic Product, and from this the state collected taxes of around €160 million.

According to the document, most of the accommodation was previously vacant or was used as a holiday home, while 24.3 percent was used previously as permanent housing.

The average occupancy rate over the past year was 65 percent, with the British, French and Portuguese markets being the largest nationalities taking up the accommodation and the majority of the guests being couples with children.

Speaking to news agency Lusa, Ana Jacinto, AHRESP’s secretary-general, said the study “is very relevant because it can be seen that more than 40 percent of the houses that are in local housing were unoccupied and have been adapted and improved.”

Meanwhile, the number of people that the sector employs has left AHRESP “surprised”, since it “generates about 20,000 direct jobs and more than 66,000 indirect jobs”, she said.

Ana Jacinto added that the study in the Algarve “reveals data very similar to the rest of the country”.

Tourism and, in particular, AL management is the main activity and focus of the owners, with the majority (72.9 percent) investing up to €10,000.

Entrepreneurs see the tax burden, seasonality and regulation as business threats, although they are optimistic about the growth in tourism demand in the sector. However, they point to the need for specialised tax and legal support services, training and business preparation to conduct business successfully.