Tourism in Porto, North seen returning to pre-pandemic levels in 2023

  • Lusa
  • 14 September 2021

In 2019, Portugal's North region recorded six million guests and 11 million overnight stays.

The president of Tourism of Porto and North of Portugal (TPNP) and the Porto Tourism Association (ATP) has said that he continues to believe that the region will in 2023 see overnight stays by tourists return to the level of 11 million recorded in the year before the pandemic.

“From the end of this year, at a time when we have practically the entire population vaccinated, that is, with group immunity almost guaranteed, there is no reason not to start believing that we will start a return to normality,” the president of both the TPNP and ATP, Luís Pedro Martins, told Lusa, “With the autumn and winter months being quite strong months in 2019, I think that from here we are able to work to meet what is the great goal, which is to reach 2023 with 2019 numbers.”

In 2019, the North region recorded six million guests and 11 million overnight stays.

According to Martins, tourists this summer returned in force to the big cities – unlike last year when people tended to opt for more thinly populated places inland – and so the region should be able to receive visitors at a level of “almost full normality” in the coming months.

“Porto and North, before the pandemic, was quite strong in the months of September, October and then in December, particularly with the Spanish market,” he noted. “This year, we believe, we will be able to receive them in almost full normality.”

On 4 February this year, in an interview with Lusa, looking back over his first two years as president of the TPNP, Martins had said that his “great ambition” for the next two and a half years would be to recover what the region had achieved in the five years from 2014 to 2019.

“To return in 2023 to having six million tourists, 11 million overnight stays and to ensure that our airport [Porto’s Sá Carneiro] registers the same values, which were 13 million passenger movements – this is our ambition,” he said at the time. “To recover, in two and a half years, everything that was lost in 2020.”

He said that help should come from the European Union funds that make up the “bazooka” of the bloc’s post-pandemic recovery plan “to support companies in the fight that lies ahead in terms of international promotion.”

A new Porto and North wine tourism route, organised by five entities – the TPNP, the Port and Douro Wines Institute (IVDP), the Vinho Verde Wine Commission (CVRVV), the Távora-Varosa Regional Wine Commission (CVRT-V) and the Trás-os-Montes Regional Wine Commission (CVRTM) – is one of the tourism region’s key strategic products and is currently in the phase of gathering “candidates and audits” with the first group of members to be ready next November, Martins revealed.