Almost three out of four hotels and tourist developments in the Algarve plan to suspend their hospitality activities during the low season due to the crisis caused by the pandemic. Before the arrival of Covid-19, about 50% of hotels and tourist developments were already planning to close during the off-season. This number may continue to rise and leave even fewer establishments and developments open for business during the coming winter months.
As compared to hotels, “AL” already has twice the capacity to receive tourists in Lisbon. In the nation’s capital which has 500,000 inhabitants, Local Lodging can accommodate 102,000 holidaymakers. In March 2019, there were 18,000 “AL” units in the municipality of Lisbon, an increase of around 80% from 2008, maintaining the trend of accelerated growth of previous years. Of the 18,000 accommodations, 90% are short-term holiday let apartments (notably commercialised through Airbnb), with 9% being hostels, while hotels can accommodate less than 50,000 travellers. Since 2001, the data reveals that Lisbon has been losing inhabitants while tourist demand has been steadily increasing. In 2011, the city received 2.9 million guests. By 2017, demand almost doubled to 5.2 million (+ 83%), which represents a nearly quarter of the total holidaymaker demand received nationwide.
Local Lodging is not the only type of tourist facility to grow in 2017. Hotels, aparthotels and rural hotels as well as tourist villages, apartments and inns also displayed dynamic results with more new units opening and record occupancy rates last year. In the case of “AL”, the majority of the increase is due to registrations of pre-existing units.
There are approximately 2,100 Local Lodging Units in Madeira, corresponding to about 8,500 beds. There has been significant growth in this type of holiday offering, with 430 new registrations in just the past five months. Despite its strong position in the local tourist market, Local Lodging is not perceived to be a threat to Madeira hotels which continue to perform better than ever in recent years.
There are establishments designated as Local Lodging with standard residential housing permits but which are in reality “genuine hotels”. According to Urbanism Councilman Manuel Salgado, “giving residential housing and Local Lodging the same licensing status is detrimental to the city.” “Real Local Lodging is when the owner lives at home, sharing with holidaymakers. This form of tourist accommodation deserves protection”, stated the Lisbon alderman.
In an interview with the “Jornal de Negócios” and “Antena 1“, the president of the Pestana group, José Theotónio, declared that: “Airbnb, Local Lodging and hostels are all welcome. They represent competition but are necessary to build Portugal as a cosmopolitan and sustainable tourist destination.” This statement signals a significant turn-around in the tradition hostility voiced by the hotel industry towards peer-to-peer holiday lettings.
Algarve hotels have registered 7.4 million overnight stays in the first six months of the year, up 13.3% over the same period of 2015. Algarve Tourism stated that 2016 should be the best year ever. Through June, Faro airport recorded 3.1 million passengers, an increase of 18.6%