Algarve hotels get ready to receive British & German tourists who now consider Portugal to be a safer holiday destination than Spain or Italy

Maybe it's the best time to book.

Hotels on the Algarve are reported to be getting ready to receive tourists as more holidaymakers, particularly the British and Germans, now consider Portugal to be a safer holiday destination than Spain or Italy, according to the Algarve Hotelier Association (AHETA).

“HOTELS are being contacted by an increasing number of people looking to book their summer holidays here,” said Elidérico Viegas, President of AHETA. “Portuguese and foreign holidaymakers, particularly the British, are looking to us as a Covid-safe destination. It is a positive sign for an industry that is counting the days until it can return to business as usual.”

Given that the British and German governments have advised their citizens against travelling to Spain, this could be a good opportunity for the Algarve, pointed out Viegas. “That’s around 18 million British and 11 million German holidaymakers travelling to Spain, just to give you an idea of the impact these markets have on the sector,” he stated.

According to Viegas, Portugal is now setting itself apart from rival destinations, such as Spain and Italy, where the outbreak has had devastating consequences. “The pandemic has had a relatively low impact in Portugal, and in the Algarve in particular,” said Viegas.

Although many hotels have decided to remain closed this summer due to the overwhelming number of cancelled bookings, others are expecting to reopen in June/early July, he confirmed. “While many foreign holidaymakers may want to travel here, whether they will be able to remains to be seen. It all depends on how the aviation industry will recover and whether other countries will lift their restrictive measures preventing people from leaving the country,” added Viegas.

Of course, occupancy rates will be a long way from the almost-100 per cent that the industry is used to seeing. That said, “even a 40 per cent occupancy rate for the summer, fuelled mostly by Portuguese tourists, would be an optimistic scenario and would help mitigate the losses that hotels experienced since the pandemic started”, concluded Viegas.

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Pepi Sappal

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