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A 'Good Summer' expected for Portugal 2011

Portugal is going to have a “good summer”, the Vice-President of the Pestana Group said in an announcement which would surprise many of Portugal’s detractors and doomsayers.

But Luigi Valle’s comment is not a mere optimistic forecast, he is basing his view on actual bookings at the assortment of hotels and resorts owned by Pestana, Portugal’s largest hotel group.

The expectation, according to Mr. Valle, is that Portugal will enjoy a summer similar to 2007, the year before the effects of the global economic slowdown started making an impact on tourism, which remains the principal driving force behind the national economy.

While foreigners, especially Europeans and an increasing number of Brazilians, have already chosen Portugal as their summer holiday destination, Portuguese tourists are not anticipated to provide their usual helping hand.

“This year, the national market will continue to experience difficulties, which will continue into 2012 and 2013. But the international market is recording substantial growth”, Mr. Valle was quoted as telling Lusa News Agency.

There has been “considerable growth” during 2011 in the number of British and German tourists, whose numbers are being boosted further by a rise in bookings from Brazil and Russia, he explained.

“July, August and September will be very positive. Demand for rooms is high already, but it will increase even further as summer draws nearer”, explains the Pestana vice-president, who nonetheless has called for optimism to be tempered.

“We cannot compare this year to 2010, as year-on-year, we can have growth in the region of 30, 40 or even 50 percent”, saying instead 2007 should be looked as a measuring tool, a year which he considers to have been a “normal” year in terms of tourism receipts.

Meanwhile, the four national airports (Lisbon, Faro, Oporto and the Azores) operated by ANA reported an increase of 26.7 percent in passenger traffic in April compared with the same month in 2010.

Passengers travelling on low cost airlines were responsible for a year-on-year rise of 37 percent.

In a statement released this week by ANA, arrivals at Portuguese airports were topped by flights from Britain, followed by the Netherlands, France and Germany.

National airline TAP recorded an increase in passenger traffic of 41.3 percent last month, followed by Ryanair (14 percent) and easyjet (13 percent).

The Algarve was the main beneficiary of this surge in passenger arrivals, registering an increase of 45.2 percent. Oporto saw passenger numbers climb by 36.6 percent, followed by Lisbon (up 18.9 percent) and the Azores which rose by 9.5 percent.

Over the first four months of 2011, passenger numbers were up by 11.9 percent in relation to last year, while those travelling on low cost flights improved by 19.7 percent.

Tourists arriving here during that period were mostly British, followed by French and Spanish.

In a related story, figures supplied by the Bank of Portugal said this week showed that foreign tourists spent 7 percent more in the country during the first quarter of this year than they did over the same period in 2010.

Tourists this year increased their spending in Portugal by 83 million euros for an overall figure falling just short of 1.3 billion euros.


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