The sector that was the star of the economy and registered the greatest growth trajectory is the one that suffered the most from the covid-19 pandemic, and this Monday, when World Tourism Day is celebrated, the key word is recovery.
The Portuguese Tourism Confederation (CTP) will mark the day with a conference dedicated to the theme “Resuming Growth”, which will take place in Coimbra, at the Convento de São Francisco, in Coimbra, on the 27th of September, World Tourism Day . The prime minister, António Costa, will be present at the opening session, and the President of the Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, at the closing session.
The issue of recovery is critical, taking into account that between 2019 and 2020 tourism suffered from a drop of 49.1% in its contribution to the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
If in 2019 the weight of tourism in GDP was 10.4%, in 2020 it fell to 5.5%, and according to the Portuguese Tourism Confederation “it is expected that the contribution to GDP this year will be no better than in 2020, with tourist revenues and the behavior indicated by Banco de Portugal”.
And according to Banco de Portugal, in the balance of the tourist balance, there was a drop in the sector’s revenue of 28.58% from January to July 2021, compared to the same period last year. Remember that the first two months of 2020, until the country felt a pandemic, were still of growth for tourism, contrary to what happened in 2021, whose beginning of the year was marked by tight confinement, followed by a long period of serious restrictions on movement.
In the accumulated result for the first seven months, the fall in tourist revenues in 2021, compared to 2019, amounted to 80.59%, according to the Bank of Portugal.
The summer results were better than expected, but represented a short period of recovery and growth, facing a very slow first half for tourism due to restrictions imposed with greed, which even affected Easter, which marks the start of high season.
In July, there was already room for growth, very marked by the domestic market. According to the National Institute of Statistics (INE), received 1.6 million guests and 4.5 million overnight stays in Portugal, representing increases of 59.6% and 71.9%, respectively.
But the lack of external tourism was notorious, and compared to 2019, the volume of guests staying in hotels dropped 42.5% in July this year, with overnight stays down by 45%. The summer ended up being ‘saved’ by the growth of Portuguese tourists themselves, but far from reaching a normal year, and with hotels struggling with a series of sanitary restrictions, which included testing restrictions on customers in the your receptions.
Portugal lost 160,300 jobs, direct and indirect, in tourism and travel
Employment is one of the main indicators to assess the state of tourism, and the impact of the pandemic in this field is notorious. The tourism and travel sector in Portugal in 2019 had 334,000 direct jobs, which means that 1 in every 10 jobs generated by the sector.
In 2020, the country lost 61,600 workers in tourism, a figure drop of 18.5%. Jobs in the sector dropped last year to 272,000, equivalent to 1 in every 11 jobs. It is recalled that, in previous years, tourism was the most promising sector in terms of job creation, and in the period between 2014 and 2019 it was responsible for 1 in 4 new jobs nationwide.
Accounting for the total contribution, including direct and indirect employment, the tourism and travel sector ensured in Portugal 1,003.7 thousand jobs, equivalent to 20.7% of total employment, about 1/5.
In 2020, direct and indirect jobs in tourism and travel in the country fell to 843.3 thousand, equivalent to 17.7% of total employment. It means that between 2019 and 2020, Portugal lost a total of 160,300 jobs in tourism, equivalent to a drop of 16%.
Confederation emphasizes that for the resumption of tourism it will move to more support in 2022
With the beginning of the discussion on the State Budget for 2022, the Confederation of Tourism of Portugal warns that the resumption of tourist activity depends “in addition to public support, a legal reduction in the costs of context borne by companies, namely compensation for making given the current increases in the price of electricity and licensing, as well as the reduction in the tax burden”.
According to Francisco Calheiros, president of CTP, “context costs are exponentially affecting and excluding from the tourism sector, at a time when this fundamental economic activity for the generation of wealth and employment requires strengthening to recover from these almost two years of pandemic”.