LISBON (Reuters) – Tourism is rebounding faster in Portugal than in parts of Europe, but the number of foreign visitors this year is still expected to be below the pre-pandemic record of 2019, the hotel association said on Monday. of the country AHP.
The number of tourists visiting Portugal rebounded to 5.9 million in 2021, a year after plunging to 3.9 million, its worst results since the mid-1980s and a far cry from the record high of 16.4 million in 2019.
The chief executive of Portugal’s AHP hotel association, Cristina Siza Vieira, said demand is expected to increase “tremendously” during the summer season, with hotels expected to reach pre-pandemic levels during this period.
Bernardo Trindade, president of the AHP, said the recovery of tourism in Portugal was happening faster than in other European countries, mainly thanks to its location, far from the war that was ravaging Ukraine, and the perception that people made it a safe place to visit.
But when you look at 2022 as a whole, hoteliers aren’t so optimistic, Siza Vieira told Reuters.
“Maybe when we close the year in December we could get closer to 2019 levels but not yet at the same level,” she said.
The sector faces two major challenges: staff shortages and rampant inflation, explained Siza Vieira.
According to the Portuguese statistics office INE, hotels and restaurants employed 266,600 people in the first quarter of 2022, 45,200 more than the same period last year, but 33,200 less than in the first three months of 2019.
Portugal’s tourism sector accounted for almost 15% of gross domestic product before the pandemic and was a key driver of its recovery from the 2010-14 economic and debt crisis.
(Reporting by Sergio Goncalves; Editing by Catarina Demony and David Gregorio)
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