The impact of the effects of the covid-19 pandemic is being accounted for as official data are known, and the accounts show the scale of the crisis well: in August, the best month of tourism on average, the total income from accommodation accounted for by Statistics Portugal did not exceed 326 million euros, which represents a 49% difference compared to the same period in 2019.
In other words, the value of income has shrunk 312 million euros in tourist accommodation, a universe that for reasons of collecting statistical data does not include local accommodation units with less than 10 beds (which are tens of thousands). According to the INE, in August “21.2% of tourist accommodation establishments were closed or there was no movement of guests”.
Between March and August this year, the income did not exceed 655.6 million euros, almost as much as the value recorded only in the month of August 2019 (638.3 million). In all, the housing sector analyzed by INE has, in these six months under analysis, included 75% less revenue, which is equivalent to 1974 million euros less.
In an update of the data already known through the quick estimate, the INE reports that in August 1.9 million guests and 5.1 million overnight stays were registered in the month under analysis, which is equivalent to 43.2% less and 47 less, 1%, respectively (even so, there was an improvement compared to the negative variations of 63.8% and 67.8% in July).
As expected, the biggest drop, due to travel restrictions, occurred in the register of non-residents, with overnight stays falling 72%, to 1.7 million. Overnight stays by residents in Portugal had only a slight decrease of 2.1%, to 3.3 million. In terms of guests, non-residents were 588.7 thousand (minus 70.1%), against 1894 thousand (minus 4.6%) for residents.
The effect of the British corridor
Among the issuing markets, INE reports that the largest reductions in terms of overnight stays occurred in the North American (93.4% less), Canadian, Chinese (92.7% less in both) markets, while the Swiss (50 less , 6%), Spanish (minus 57.2%) and German (minus 59.2%) “were, among the main ones, those that registered smaller decreases”.
The largest issuing market, the United Kingdom, fell by almost 80%. According to the analysis made by INE, the impact would be even greater without the “window” that opened temporarily at the end of this month. On 20 August, the British authorities announced “that, starting on 22 August, anyone entering England from Portugal would not have to be in mandatory quarantine”. The measure would be revoked at the beginning of September, but it had positive effects in the meantime.
“The opening of the air corridor with Portugal will have contributed to the recovery that took place in August, the month in which there was a 79.8% reduction in overnight stays from residents in the United Kingdom, after four months with decreases always above 90% ”, Highlights INE.
In July, the number of passengers coming from the United Kingdom decreased by 85.5%, a percentage which stood at 69.1% in August. “Between 1 and 20 August, the decrease in the number of passengers disembarked was 79.7%, an evolution that contrasts with the decrease recorded between 21 and 31 August (minus 47.2%). In this last period, 55.8% of the total number of passengers disembarked in August 2020 (32.6% in the same period of 2019) disembarked ”.
The Algarve was the region with the most overnight stays and revenues (154.7 million euros, which is 41.7% less), but it was Alentejo that suffered the least negative impact (with 15.3% less overnight stays and less 6.6% in income, to 29.8 million euros). The biggest reduction occurred in Madeira, followed by the Azores and the Lisbon Metropolitan Area. In terms of typologies, the offer least impacted was tourism in rural areas and housing, with a decline of only 4.2%.