It was better than July, but it was still bad: in August, according to the INE quick estimate published on Thursday, the tourist accommodation sector had 43.2% fewer customers than the same period in 2019, remaining at 1.9 million, with overnight stays down 47.2% to 5.1 million.
With a still very sharp drop in non-residents, whose overnight stays will have fallen by 72% to 1.7 million, it is the Portuguese who have given the sector a little oxygen, with a drop of only 2.4%, to 3.4 million (equivalent to 65.9% of the total). In total, resident customers stand at 1.3 million (-4.7%, after the drop of 30.8% in July), against 589 thousand non-residents (-70.1%, a slight improvement compared to 83, July 4).
Consumers will recover part of the VAT on purchases in tourism, restaurants, culture and transport
There were even regions that had more Portuguese than the previous year, such as Algarve, with an increase of 9%, Alentejo, 4% more, and Center, with 1.1% more.
In the case of Alentejo, the region, specifies the INE, “will have continued to post the smallest drop in the number of overnight stays, compared to the same month, ie a drop of 15.1%”.
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The most significant impacts were felt in Madeira (-72.3%), the Azores (-69.3%) and in the metropolitan area of Lisbon (68.6%). Next come the North (-41%), the Algarve (-39.3%) and the Center (-27.6%).
Among the main source markets, the one that recorded the worst performance was Spain, with a drop of 57.3%. The UK, Portugal’s biggest tourist market, fell 79.7%, but the scenario could have been even worse. On August 20, it was announced that Portugal was included in the list of countries the UK has exempted from quarantine, which has spiked travel and bookings. However, this measure was repealed on September 10 by the British authorities.
In what is traditionally the best month for the tourism sector, the INE reports that 21 of the establishments “may have been closed or there was no movement of customers”.