Will Portugal ever repeat its 2019 tourism record?

Nadia Podrabinek Nadia Podrabinek

Written by Nadia Podrabinek

Tourism in Portugal

Portugal’s tourism industry is showing significant recovery, approaching its 2019 levels. Before the pandemic, tourism was a key driver of Portugal’s economy, accounting for almost 15% of gross domestic product.

Will the previous record be surpassed in 2024?

Probably yes, despite higher inflation rates and several ongoing war conflicts: In the first five months of 2023, the number of foreign tourists visiting the Portugal surpassed 6.4 million, up from 5.7 million in the same period of 2019, according to National Statistics Institute of Portugal (INE).

The data from Google Trends statistics portal also shows slight increase in user interest in 2023 compared to 2022.

Google Trends Portugal
Source: Google Trends

Still, in 2022, the country welcomed 22.3 million non-resident tourists, a 131.4% increase from 2021 but still 9.6% lower than in 2019. Spain remained the top source of international tourists, with a 97.4% increase from the previous year.

Tourist accommodation facilities hosted 28.9 million guests, providing 77.2 million overnight stays, an increase of 81% in guests and overnight stays from 2021. However, these numbers were still slightly below 2019 levels.

The domestic market contributed 27.5 million overnight stays, up by 22% from 2021 and 5.3% from 2019. Non-resident overnight stays also saw a substantial increase.

Portugal Tourism Stats
Non-resident tourists’ arrivals in Portugal, 2019-2022. Source: Statistics Portugal

The total revenue for tourist accommodations reached €5 billion, a 115% increase from 2021, with accommodation revenue at €3.8 billion (+117%).

Compared to 2019, revenues also increased. Revenue per available room (RevPAR) and average daily rate (ADR) saw significant gains compared to both 2021 and 2019.

Resident tourist trips totaled 22.6 million, a 29.2% increase from 2021 but still 7.5% below 2019 levels. Domestic trips rose by 21.0%, and trips abroad increased significantly. Average expenditure per tourist on each trip also increased compared to both 2021 and 2019, with notable differences in spending on domestic trips and trips abroad.

What about residents?

In 2022, 47.7% of Portugal’s resident population (4.9 million individuals) made at least one tourist trip, marking a 3.7 percentage point increase over 2021 but a 10% decrease compared to 2019.

Resident tourist trips totaled 22.6 million, showing a 29% increase from 2021 but still 7.5% lower than 2019 levels. Domestic trips, which made up 88% of the total, rose by 21% from 2021, yet were 6.5% lower than in 2019.

Trips abroad, representing approx. 12% of all trips, increased significantly by 162.5% compared to 2021 but were still 14.3% below 2019 levels.

In total, these trips generated over 94.6 million overnight stays in 2022, an increase of 14.5% from 2021 but 4.6% less than in 2019. Most overnight stays (78%) occurred within Portugal, a slight increase of 1.5% from 2019, while overnight stays abroad grew by 115%, indicating a strong recovery, yet still lagging 8.1% behind 2019 figures.

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