New figures out this week show the number of nights spent by British and German tourists dropped by double digits in June, which is traditionally the start of the summer season and an indication of the trend that will be followed in ensuing months.
Overall, non-resident tourism fell by 5.1 percent, new figures by the National Statistics Institute (INE) revealed this week.
This comes after there had been a general mood of euphoria in 2017 as figures climbed by over ten percent, setting new records.
But a year later, not only have there been slumps in tourists from the UK and Germany, but also from other major feeder markets such as the Netherlands, Ireland, Poland, Italy and Sweden.
There was also a reduction in the overall number of visitors, though this was less pronounced, with British tourists down seven percent, and Germans shrinking by nine percent.
The general trend arising in the UK source market, the most important to Portugal as Britons account for just under one in four visitors, has been of concern since last year.
Successive falls in numbers have been reported since October 2017.
The main reasons for this have been a revival in competition from destinations such as Turkey, Egypt and Tunisia, the euro strengthening against the pound, and a loss of some air connections resulting from events such as the bankruptcy of Monarch Airlines.
This was was also the first time that Portugal registered a decrease in hotel guests and visitors since June 2010.
On a positive front, the number of Americans rose on last year, but the increase was not enough to recover overall losses in numbers.
Portuguese tourists were also to thank for a less significant drop in figures, with their numbers increasing by just below four percent on 2017.
The Portuguese Government, which in July had already expressed concern over the perceived drop in tourists, especially from Britain, this week played down these latest figures.
The Tourism Secretary told newspaper Público that while numbers at hotels were down, the number of passengers disembarking at Portuguese airports climbed 6.4 percent in June when compared with 12 months earlier.
Other reasons forwarded for numbers shrinking were the World Cup, and warmer than usual weather in northern Europe, which could have “resulted in potential visitors postponing their intended trips to Portugal”.
May had also seen a drop in tourists, but only by 0.4 percent, while April recorded a reduction of 7.2 percent, but was explained as a result of the timing of the Easter holidays.
Despite these concerns, overall revenue from tourism rose 7.5 percent year-on-year, totalling €376.7 million in June.