“What we know, from the summer point of view, is that the less touristic regions are those that have been most sought after, mainly by domestic tourism, so there has been a good response from national tourism,” said the president of the national body responsible for tourism promotion, Luís Araújo, in an interview with the Lusa agency.

He points out that Alentejo, north and centre are the main regions in question, and that “some of these regions are having very good results”.
“We still don’t have [official] data, but we have hotels and tourism projects recording the best summer ever, especially in these areas”, according to the information transmitted to Turismo de Portugal, he adds.

Luís Araújo highlighted the popularity of “family tourism” this summer in Portugal, with “longer periods spent away and people searching for more isolated and individual accommodation units in alternative regions”.

While for some areas this year has proven to be lucrative, on the whole this has not been the case for tourism in Portugal. Staycations from national tourism represented around a third of the total recorded in Portugal, however even if this number doubled in 2020, “we would never be able to reach the [total] figure we had last year” in terms of tourism revenue, which amounted to €18.4 billion, he explained.

“The great difficulty lies in the big cities like Lisbon, Porto and in the Algarve because of the supply capacity these areas have - and it has also suffered a lot from the UK issue - and in Madeira and the Azores because of the issue of connectivity,” he highlights.

Contextualising that “national tourism lives in the big destinations, in the cities, in the business segment and in the events sector, which is severely penalised, with very strict rules regarding the organisation of events”, Luís Araújo speaks of “some challenges ahead” in the sector.

One of them is to recover “the security and confidence” of tourists, both national and foreign, namely from the European Union (EU), and the other focuses on “financial issues, which has seen everyone living differently”.

Some international forecasts, such as those of the World Tourism Organisation, estimate global losses of between 50 percent and 70 percent this year due to Covid-19 and Portugal “shouldn’t be too far away from that”, Luis Araújo said.

Nevertheless, he said “everything depends on external factors, such as the issue of pandemic control, the measures being implemented at EU level, a potential vaccine, increased tourism confidence [...] and the recovery of air capacity”.

Tourism in Portugal is already promoting the country as a “year-round destination”, hoping to have “assets to attract tourists by the end of the year and early next year”, Luís Araújo said.