Tourism sector cools
Growth in Portugal’s tourism sector is slowing and could continue to do so for the next two to three years according to the Confederation of Tourism of Portugal (CTP).
Backed up by forecasts from the Portuguese Association of Travel Agencies and Tourism (APAVT), the slowdown is expected given the accelerated growth in tourism seen over the past few years.
Numbers published by the National Statistics Institute to May this year revealed that the number of tourists coming to Portugal continued to grow but at a lesser rate.
According to the press agency Lusa, both the President of the CTP, Francisco Calheiros, and that of the APAVT, Pedro Costa Ferreira, played down any concerns of a significant cooling of Portugal’s tourism economy, instead highlighting the work that the sector and future Government will have to do in order to achieve new growth peaks.
“Over the last four years, up until 2017, we enjoyed growth levels that no one could have possibly imagined. The economy grew by around 50%. This is unsustainable and it is not possible to grow more. And that is what happened in 2018, a year in which growth was more or less stable. In 2019 we are seeing more moderate growth” said the CTP president.
“With growth levels like that “the system gets clogged, starting with Lisbon airport” he said, adding that “at the moment we need tens of thousands of people that it doesn’t have capacity for. Portugal is consolidating growth seen over the past few years”, he added.
Regarding concern over a slowdown, Francisco Calheiros said, “It’s all in the lap of the Gods. It’s not a question of being predictable or not, it is a normal result. We enjoyed huge growth in 2017. 2018 was a year of consolidation, revenues increased but not the number of booked rooms, but the last set of numbers have seen a growth in both beds and revenues.”
Nevertheless, he did admit there were some fears regarding the summer, namely in some regions of the Algarve, to where less companies fly and then there is the Brexit effect.
“We don’t foresee a bad 2019. We’re talking about a fall in growth, less growth which is perfectly normal”, said Calheiros.