The figures, still provisional, indicate a rise in hotel occupancy to 34.8 percent and confirm the prospects for a “progressive increase in demand from national and Spanish tourists,” said Elidérico Viegas, president of the Association of Hotels and Tourism Resorts of the Algarve (AHETA).

He argued that this “is not exactly a recovery in the low season”, but “a trend”, as the year’s growth “was 0.5 percent”, emphasising that if the end of the year had coincided with a weekend, it “would have raised occupancy rates higher” as the weather was favourable.

A similar position was expressed to Lusa by the president of the Algarve Tourism Region (RTA), João Fernandes, considering that in the Algarve “the tradition is to spend the New Year out on the streets with family members” and to celebrate the New Year with watching the fireworks and concerts.

“This year, the good weather helped those who could arrive more quickly, getting in the car and bringing the family, to do so, taking advantage of the various offers created by many of the municipalities,” said that leader.

João Fernandes highlighted the diversity of this year’s offer, ranging from “the usual” concerts and fireworks on the beach, such as in Quarteira or Albufeira, to events that make up part of the 365 winter programme, such as the Novo Circo in Monchique.

The president of Turismo do Algarve also emphasised the increase in national tourists, “by the tradition of the Portuguese heading to the Algarve for the New Year”, and the Spanish, which he attributes to the campaigns carried out in the Spanish market.

In relation to the whole of 2019, João Fernandes considered the year to be a positive one, highlighting the record number of passengers at Faro Airport, which reached nine million “almost 300,000 more people” than last year.

Admitting that it was a year of “adversity” due to the bankruptcy of airlines and operator Thomas Cook, as well as strikes by drivers of hazardous materials, the official considered that the region was able to “adjust” and “get over it”.

“It is especially interesting that not only has the volume of demand grown but, above all, income, which means that the region is growing more in value than in demand, a path that we have to follow,” he said.