Some businesses in less touristy Portuguese regions, such as Alentejo, Center and North, had, this year, the “best summer ever”, writes Agência Lusa, with the only positive factor “within the negative scenario” caused by the pandemic of 19, according to Turismo de Portugal.
“What we know, from the summer point of view, is that the less touristy regions are those that have been most sought after, mainly by domestic tourism, so there has been a good response from national tourism”, indicates the president of the national entity responsible for tourist promotion, Luís Araújo, in an interview with the Lusa agency.
The official points out that “some of the regions mentioned above are having very good results”, specifying that they are mainly concerned with Alentejo, Norte and Centro.
“We still don't have data [oficiais], but we have hoteliers and tourism projects that had the best summer ever, especially in these areas ”, according to the information transmitted to Turismo de Portugal, he adds.
And it is also according to the sector's feedback that Luís Araújo talks about “family tourism” this summer in Portugal, with “longer periods, looking for more isolated and more individual accommodation units and alternative regions”, with accommodation to also have “great growth in these areas”.
“It is a positive response within what can be positive, it is within the negative, because we are nowhere near or far recovering what we had in 2019. We have been retreating for some years compared to what we had”, laments Luís Araújo.
According to Lusa, with national tourism representing about one third of the total registered in Portugal, even if it doubled in 2020, “we would never be able to reach the value [total] we had last year ”in terms of tourist revenues, which amounted to 18.4 billion euros, he explains.
"The great difficulty is in the big cities like Lisbon and Porto, in the Algarve due to the supply capacity it has – and it has also suffered a lot mainly with the UK issue -, and in Madeira and the Azores because of the connectivity issue", he highlights the responsable.
Contextualizing that “national tourism lives from big destinations, cities, the business segment and the events sector, which is severely penalized, with very strict rules regarding the organization of events”, Luís Araújo talks about “some challenges ahead” in the sector.
One of them is to recover “the security and trust” of tourists, both national and foreign, namely from the European Union (EU), and the other focuses on “financial issues, which each one is experiencing differently”.
Some international forecasts, such as those of the World Tourism Organization, estimate global losses between 50% and 70% this year due to covid-19, reason why Portugal "should not be far from that", perspective Luís Araújo.
Even so, the official points out that “everything depends on external factors, such as the pandemic control issue, the measures that are being implemented at EU level, a potential vaccine, the increase in tourism confidence. […] and the resumption of air capacity ”.
What is certain is that Turismo de Portugal is already promoting the country as “a year-round destination”, thus hoping to have “assets to attract tourists by the end of the year and at the beginning of the next”, adds Luís Araújo.
Luís Araújo has been president of Turismo de Portugal since 2016 and, this week, he also assumed the presidency of the European Travel Commission, the European entity for the promotion of the sector, a position he will accumulate in the next four years.