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Beach in the Algarve (photo: Visit Portugal)

Portugal: €1 in every €5 in from tourism

Travel and tourism grew 8.1%, the highest of any country in the European Union and far ahead of the EU average.

Portugal is riding a wave of popularity as a travel destination. The travel and tourism sector there grew by one of the highest rates in Europe last year to contribute €1 in every €5 and one in five of all jobs in the country, new research shows.

The figures come from the World Travel & Tourism Council’s annual review of the economic impact and social importance of the sector, which has been conducted for almost 30 years.

It shows that in 2018 tourism in Portugal grew by 8.1% to contribute €38.4 billion to the Portuguese economy, representing more than 19% of total economy activity in the country.

This growth rate is the highest of any country in the European Union and significantly above the EU average of 3.1%.

The balance of leisure versus business travel is 85% to 15%, and international to domestic visitors saw a split of 69% to 31%.

The travel and tourism sector employs 1.05 million people, or 21.8% of all jobs in the country.

Business potential
Looking ahead to 2019, the WTTC predicts that the Portuguese travel and tourism sector will grow by 5.3%, again well ahead of the European average, forecast at 2.5%.

“Portugal has the potential to increase the size of its travel economy even further by growing the size of its business tourism sector,” thinks Ana Mendes Godinho, Portugal’s secretary of state for tourism.

“At present, business travellers account for only 15% of all spending in Portugal against a European average of 21%.”

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