“We are talking about falls in the first quarter of the year of around 80 percent and in some cases even over 90 percent, i.e. in urban centres for example," said the president of the Association of Local Lodging in Portugal (ALEP), Eduardo Miranda, in Parliament.

Eduardo Miranda was speaking via videoconference in the Economy, Innovation, Public Works and Housing Commission, on the implementation of measures to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic and the process of economic and social recovery.

According to the president of ALEP, the new measures brought a "balloon of oxygen", but "the third wave [of the pandemic] has been quite serious [for the sector], perhaps even worse for most entrepreneurs," after a year with almost no invoicing.

"Contrary to popular belief, in local accommodation, most operators have no alternatives, that is, 71 percent are done in holiday homes - in holiday, mountain and rural areas - there is not even the possibility of using them for any other purpose. And even in Lisbon and Porto more than half cannot migrate - even if they wanted to - to renting", he indicated.

According to Eduardo Miranda, many of the tenants have long-term situations, which does not happen with local accommodation, which is dedicated to tourism.

"Local accommodation has flexibility to reopen, so it can have a fundamental role here, in this first phase of recovery to respond, for when there is little demand and thus ensure the positioning of Portugal in tourism," he said, noting that the sector currently represents 40 percent of overnight stays in the country.

About the support measures defined by the Government, Eduardo Miranda considered that "progress has been made" and that there has been much cooperation with the Secretary of State for Tourism, adding that the measures will allow operators to survive the next quarter.

"These measures that have been launched will guarantee an oxygen balloon. The APOIAR + Simples has not yet arrived, there has been no payment yet, but the others have been going well, in the payment of the last tranches," he said.