General Industry

Portugal Tourism Growth Slows Sharply In 2018, Still Ekes Out Record

By Dave Simpson
Portugal Tourism Growth Slows Sharply In 2018, Still Ekes Out Record

The number of foreign tourists visiting Portugal edged up to break another record last year, but the 0.4% increase was a far cry from the previous year's 12% surge, signalling that the tourism boom is slowing, data has shown.

The National Statistics Institute (INE), which monitors hotel stays, said total arrivals grew to 12.8 million in 2018.

Portugal's tourism has been growing for eight years in a row, helping the country recover from a severe debt crisis and economic recession. However, some in the industry believe it is set to reverse in 2019, party due to a drop in British visitors due to Brexit.

Hotel Revenues And International Tourism Statistics

Hotel revenues rose 6% last year, mainly benefiting from domestic tourism, to reach €3.6 billion, but that growth slowed from 16% a year earlier.

Holiday seekers from the UK, Portugal's largest tourism market, stayed fewer nights in the country last year, dropping 7.3%. There was also a drop among German, French, Dutch and Irish visitors.


On the other hand, Portugal received more visitors from Brazil and North America, with a 20% increase in the number of tourists from the United States, the data showed.

The total contribution of travel and tourism to Portugal's gross domestic product reached 17.3%, or €33.5 billion, in 2017, according to the International Tourism Association. Data for 2018 is not yet available.

News by Reuters, edited by Hospitality Ireland. Click subscribe to sign up for the Hospitality Ireland print edition.