Rise in foreign tourists predicted for Algarve

There will be fewer national tourists this summer, but the drop in Portuguese stay-cationers will be compensated by a rise in foreign tourists which is expected to push up this year’s tourism figures, according to a barometer from the Institute for Tourism Development and Planning (IPDT).

Algarve Beach holidays and Car hireThe 36th IPDT’s tourism academy barometer is based on questionnaires filled out during June this year by around 100 of the institute’s members. It was concluded that around half of the panel, 46.8 percent, predict that national tourism figures will grow this summer, in relation to the same period of last year.

“The majority think that the sector’s evolution will be sustained, above all, by the external market”, António Jorge Costa, president of the IPDT, told Lusa News Agency, adding that 58.8 percent of the participants estimate that more foreign tourists will visit Portugal this summer than in 2010.

Those questioned believe that a rise in the flow of visitors will translate into a rise in revenue from the external market.

Seven in ten participants believe the volume of revenue generated by international visitors will be “better”, or at the least “the same” as last year.

When asked about internal tourism, the outlook was less optimistic, reflecting the current financial situation: the majority of those who answered the survey not only expected a fall in the number of national tourists (41.2 percent), but also in the volume of revenue (62.9 percent).

Other conclusions drawn from the barometer are that Portugal is being increasingly sought after by Brazilians, with three in every four of the respondents saying they thought there would be more Brazilian tourists in Portugal this summer than last summer.

The number of Brazilian holidaymakers would be followed by German tourists, the participants believed, with the majority (64.5 percent) also saying that the number of Irish tourists visiting Portugal this year would be lower than last year.

For 34.2 percent of the participants, 2011 looks on track to be a better year than 2010, in terms of tourism, while 37 per cent said it would be the same, and 26 percent thought it would be worse. The overwhelming majority, 89 percent, said the main threat to tourism’s performance is the current economic instability.

Nonetheless, despite the belt-tightening being exercised by households across Portugal, many families are still preparing for a summer vacation. This year the Algarve has emerged as one of the key destinations, with provisional estimates for the second half of July and the month of August indicating the region’s hotels are full.

There is still some availability for the upcoming week though, it has been said.

However, to attract as many tourists as possible, some Algarve hotels are slashing prices to the bare minimum. For example, it is possible to book a week at a hotel in Albufeira with half board for as little as €357, which is effectively €51 per day in peak season.

Eldérico Viegas, head of the Algarve Hotel and Tourist Resort Association AHETA, recently described the region as “a holiday destination for all wallets”, adding that, even in five-star hotels, “there are very different prices.”

He estimates that the Portuguese will make up 30 percent of the region’s holidaymakers this summer, with Brits making up another 30 percent.


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