Douro tourism up 23% in 2021 after Covid-19 hit 2020 badly

  • Lusa
  • 7 February 2022

According to the Douro, Leixões, and Viana do Castelo Port Authority (APDL), the river tourism on the Douro River recorded a recovery of 23% last year compared to 2020

The Douro Waterway (VND) received 279,151 passengers in 2021, a recovery of 23.34% compared to 2020, a year with sharp falls due to Covid-19, according to the Douro, Leixões, and Viana do Castelo Port Authority (APDL).

According to data made available on the website by the APDL, river tourism on the Douro River recorded a recovery of 23% last year compared to 2020, a year in which this segment suffered a severe blow because of the Covid-19 pandemic and accounted for a drop of 86.24% compared to 2019.

In 2021, 279,151 passengers travelled on the waterway, 160,897 (58%) of which were on cruises in the same reservoir and at night, 74,438 on day cruises (27%), 33,307 on hotel boats (12%) and 10,151 (4%) on pleasure boats.

In 2020, when the boats were stopped between March and June/July due to the Covid-19 pandemic, 226,333 passengers travelled on the Douro River, 86.24% less than in 2019, a year when 1,644,937 tourists travelled on that route, 26.92% more than in 2018.

According to data from the waterway manager, in 2021, there were 98 operators on the River Douro and 205 vessels operating, with a capacity of 11,718 passengers.

Last year, the best months for river tourism were August (21.2%), followed by September (16.6%), July (15%) and October (12.9%), with practically nothing in the first quarter.

In 1990, with the inauguration of the 210 kilometres of navigable river between Porto and Barca d’Alva, a door was opened to tourism which was then consolidated in 2001 with the classification of the Douro as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

As for the transport of goods on the waterway, according to APDL, last year, 20,545 tons were transported, which represents a drop of 50.32% compared to 2020 (41,357 tons).

In 2020, of the two existing commercial ports on the Douro River (Sardoura and Várzea), there was the only activity in Várzea.

In 2019, 44,706 tonnes of goods were transported from the two ports, a growth of 32.15% compared to the previous year.

Covid-19 has caused at least 5.723 million deaths worldwide since the start of the pandemic, according to the latest balance of the agency France-Presse, released on Saturday.

In Portugal, since March 2020, 20,222 people have died, and 2,915,971 cases of infection have been counted, according to data from the Directorate-General of Health today.

The disease is caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, detected in late 2019 in Wuhan, a city in central China.

The Omicron variant, which spreads and mutates rapidly, has become world dominant since it was first detected in South Africa in November.