Portuguese tourist numbers exceed 25 million p.a.

Visitors to Portugal rise by 32% between 2015 and 2018

The Jornal Económico reported last week that the number of guests in Portugal has grown by 32% since 2015 to 25.2 million in 2018, a record figure which, according to the Government, demonstrates the sustainability of tourism and helps to chart the way forward. The current fuel strike can’t be helping figures this summer!

Data from the National Institute of Statistics (INE), shows the number of guests in 2018 stood at 25.2 million and overnight stays 67.7 million, which corresponded to increases of 5.1% and 3.1%, respectively, against growth in 2017 of 12.9% and 10.8%.

Between 2015 and 2018, “Portugal grew 45% in tourist revenues, 32% in guests, 27.5% in overnight stays and 51.2% in income,” said the statement from the Ministry of Economy.

In terms of guests, the fastest growing regions in three years were the Azores (61.7%), Alentejo (38.9%), the North (36.1%) and the Centre (35.3%), indicating that tourism is spreading across the whole territory. Overnight stays in the interior territories advanced 36.8% between 2015 and 2018, compared to 25.9% in the coastal territories.

“These results show that tourism continues to grow sustainably, both in terms of value and extending throughout the territory and throughout the year,” said Secretary of State of Tourism, Ana Mendes Godinho, quoted in the same document. The official also indicated that, in 2018, Portugal reached the lowest seasonality rate ever (36%) – presumably this indicates the variation between the peaks and troughs?

“We are also being able to diversify markets, which has allowed us these results. This is the way we have to go”, she said. In those three years, tourism in Portugal “changed structurally. We have had the ability to pick up air links to strategic markets, which travel all year round ”and also across the country, Ana Mendes Godinho told press agency Lusa, quoting the example of Chinese, American, Brazilian or Canadian tourists.“Today we find the most unexpected nationalities in the most amazing places in Portugal. It is fantastic to witness this evolution that has already taken us to 17th place in the WTO ranking ”, she added.

Tourist revenues, as reported by the Bank of Portugal, reached €16.6 billion last year, 9.6% more than in 2017.

According to data provided by the Government, since 2015, some markets have more than doubled or almost doubled their weight in Portugal, such as China, which increased from €62 million  in 2015 to €153 million in 2018 (+147.5%), Canada, which went from €174 million to €330 million last year (+ 89.5%) and the United States, whose revenues went from €530 million  to €968 million  (+ 82.5%).

In local accommodation, in turn, in 2018 there was growth of 14.1% in guests (four million) and 13.9% in overnight stays (9.3 million). In total, this activity represents 15.6% of the total guests in Portugal.

In 2018, Portugal recorded 22.8 million international tourist arrivals, a 25% increase over 2016, which consolidates Portugal “as the 17th leading tourist country in the WTO ranking”. Taking into account the top 20 places in this ranking, led by Spain, “Portugal is the country with the fifth most expressive growth of tourists in 2018, above destinations like Mexico, Italy or Spain”. 16th in the WTO assessment is Russia, with 24.6 million tourists in 2018, and 18th in Canada, with 21.1 million tourists.

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