The covid-19 pandemic came to break the good pace of growth in the Tourism sector in Portugal and in the world, so that recovering the sector’s good health is vital for the development of economies. A recovery that should encompass all business segments, including Shopping Tourism as a very relevant category, given the high per capita value that these extra-community tourists contribute to the economy, compared to what we can call European and domestic tourists.
Faced with this reality, Portugal has to make a clear choice and start taking full advantage of this potential. It is true that the pandemic took us off the map of many intercontinental tourists, especially the Chinese, but, as a reference to Banco de Portugal a few days ago, even with some travel restrictions, American and Brazilian tourists are returning in large numbers in Portugal and in July, Americans had already spent more than twice as much as in the same month last year and Brazilians more than 50% more than in 2020.
However, it is not just these shopping tourists that Portugal should look to. At this moment, the English are, without a doubt, a kind of goose that lays the golden eggs that merchants and big retailers must watch carefully.
Because, thanks to Brexit – not everything is bad news -, English tourists are now eligible for tax-free purchases in Portugal, where prices are 5 to 10% lower than in England, which, in addition to VAT refunds of up to 18%, makes our country a highly competitive shopping destination compared to other European destinations.
Furthermore, considering that English tourists were already the ones who came to Portugal for holidays in greater numbers and that they continue to be those who, after the pandemic, continue to come to us – note the fact that, only in October, 41% of tourists who landed in the Algarve were English – so we have all the conditions to attract them to do more shopping and leave us some more of their valuable Pounds to weigh on the good side of our trade balance.
And it is worth underlining the declarations made by the President of the Algarve Tourism Region regarding the fact that the 40 golf courses in the region are practically full for these tourists, demonstrating that among the English there is also a lot of purchasing power.
As, by the way, the value of the average purchase made by tourists in other destinations demonstrates. For example, in Spain, in the last 4 weeks, British tourists made purchases with an average value of 1,100 euros. In Portugal, this value is a little above 700 euros, well below the Spanish average, which may mean that, just as they did with the Chinese a few years ago, the Spanish are once again ahead of us in strategies and in related matters. to attract these important segments of tourists.
Christmas is just around the corner and we have to stop looking at the English only as consumers of our sun & beach or golf and, why not, give them new stimuli and options to enjoy more and the best shopping in the country. The opportunities are already here, it’s just a matter of knowing how to work better and together to maximize the potential of British tourists.