The president of the Confederation of Tourism of Portugal (CTP) believes that “the evil will have passed”, referring to the effects of the covid-19 pandemic in the sector, but points out that the fall of 56% estimated for this year “is a disaster ”.
“What we believe is that the evil will have passed, they are together as conditions for a return to tourism,” said Francisco Calheiros, in an interview with Lusa.
However, and even though the sector has entered an upward trajectory of recovery with the summer, the official dismissed “a certain optimism” that has been talked about.
“[Perdas de] 63% in 2020, 56% in 2021, it’s all a disaster. For whom? To the north, through the islands, the agencies, the hotels, through the restaurants, everything terrible. […] 2020 and 2021 were two terrible years”, he pointed out.
The official explained that, despite the national market having grown more than 6% in July, the international market decreased by 76% and, since the national market represents less than a third of the tourist activity, CTP’s prospects for 2021 are of a fall of 56 %, compared to 2019.
“I think there are data that it is convenient for us to have the notion: the year 2020 returned to 1993. And there is an even more curious fact: January and February 2020 were the same as the [do ano] 74”, he stressed.
Francisco Calheiros highlighted the success of the vaccination process in Portugal, which has a “huge” impact on tourism.
“As we are, at this moment, an extraordinarily safe destination, there is no reason for us not to start and resume growth in 2022 and we all hope that in 2023 we can reach the numbers of 2019, without ever forgetting that the years 2017, 2018 and 2019 they were extraordinary years, perhaps the best years for Portuguese tourism”, he said.
Thus, the president of the CTP predicts that the months of October and November will be better than last year and that January will be better than the same month of the two previous years.
Francisco Calheiros recalled that, before the crisis caused by the pandemic, the balance of trade in the country was positive because of tourism, with a contribution of around 12 billion.
“The balance [comercial] account an account such that all other activities – which are deficient – with tourism, the balance of Portugal was positive. And this for the image of a country is extremely important”, he stressed.