High temperatures experienced in the main tourism markets and the resurgence of demand in other Mediterranean countries may explain the fall in tourism numbers in the Algarve this summer, although data for the first half of the year indicates that the tourism performance of the Algarve is in line with the previous year.

According to the president of the Algarve Association for Hotels and Resorts (AHETA), Elidérico Viegas, the occupation levels this year remain “at the level of last year” with “a tendency towards stabilisation or slight decline” as average occupancy per room in 2018 was “85 percent in July and 95 percent in August”.

Algarve Tourism President João Fernandes says that while there is less demand for the traditional sun and beach holiday, the region has grown significantly in the middle and even low seasons. In 2017 about 70 percent of the overnight stays took place outside high season and in October 2018, passenger traffic at Faro airport increased more than in August 2015, a reality not previously seen in the region, he stressed.

However, expectations for this July and August point to a decrease in reservations which are “slightly slower” compared to 2018, “mainly from the Dutch, German and French markets” noted João Fernandes.

He recalls that more and more reservations are made outside of the traditional holiday period, “a factor that can be associated with weather phenomena” because today any tourist “has a better sense of the temperature in their destination and their country than they did a few years ago.”

“We have been witnessing heat waves in our emitting markets in May and June, which also somewhat weakens the mood for people leaving those countries” he said. Conversely there is a “good performance” in Spanish, Portuguese and United Kingdom markets, and although for the coming months reservations are below last year, there may still be “last minute” reservations, which is “what has been happening month after month”.

AHETA´s Elidérico Viegas stated he was pleased with the rise of the British market, which in 2017 and 2018 had fallen 8.5 percent and 6 percent respectively and this year shows “a slight increase”. He acknowledges that there is “a more general feeling” that there are “fewer people this year than last year” in the region this summer but considers that this is mainly due to lower occupancy rates in private housing.

“This seems to be true, especially at the level of so-called private housing and second homes. At the level of officially classified hotels and tourists resorts, we have the feeling that there may be some decline, but nothing very significant” he said.