Hotel supply outstripping tourism demand warns association
The Portuguese Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Association (APHORT) says that tourist demand is not keeping pace with Portugal’s mushrooming growth in hotels.
Its president, Rodrigo Pinto Barros, says he is “worried” about the future consequences of falling demand and hotel saturation, particularly lower demand in terms of room take-up rate and average stay could have on the Portuguese economy.
“The statistics show that the increase in demand from tourists is now not keeping pace with the sheer number of new hotels nationally which could be a worrying sign,” says Barros.
The latest data released from the Portuguese National Statistics Institute (INE) show the bed take up rate in tourism establishments has been consistently falling and compared to numbers seen last year, fell 1.8% in March after having already fallen 1.5% in February and an overall decrease of 1.1% on the first quarter of 2019.
The average stay too has fallen according to the INE standing at 2.48 nights in March (a fall of 3.6% compared with the previous year). In February it was 2.42 nights with an overall fall for the quarter of 3.2% on 2018.
“It seems that indicators such as the bed take-up rate and average stay in tourism accommodation establishments is something no one wants to face,” says the APHORT president.
And despite the fact that the downward trend in the figures could have been influenced by the fact Easter was in April instead of March as in 2018, Barros said: “economic agents need to be aware.”
“We don’t want to be alarmist, but we also don’t want to be influenced by a partial reading of the data that we have. There is no point opening new hotels if we can’t then fill all the beds that we have.
“Not taking into account bed take-up and occupancy rates could lead us to a new crisis in the sector and quicker than we might like to imagine,” he warned.