American boom in tourism in Portugal

05 March

Americans are currently the most promising market for tourism in Portugal, worth €1bn in revenues in 2018. Their overnight stays and subsequent revenue to the country increased by 20% last year, helping Portugal close the year with a 10% increase in total tourism revenue.

“The American market has grown remarkably in the past three years and is already a target for us, not to mention Americans are the ones who spend the most during their visits”, pointed out Ana Mendes Godinho, Secretary of State for Tourism, adding that “in 2018 we reached about €1 billion in revenue, whilst in 2017 we registered €817m”.

In response to current demand, Portugal’s tourism advertising in the US has doubled since 2016, to around €1.3m in 2018.

Hotels’ golden opportunity

Marriott Lisbon registered a 17% increase in American clients last year, with a total of 25,300 overnight stays and forecasting a much higher number for 2019. “The American tourist is not hard to please, they like to feel at home at a hotel they feel they can trust,” says Paulo Almeida, Sales Director at Marriott Lisbon, adding that “what’s really important for them is to have an American buffet breakfast available for extended hours”.

At Pousadas Portugal, a network of historic hotels owned by Pestana Group, there was an increase of 25% in American clients, with a total of 18,500 overnight stays in 2018. ”Americans are the customers who spend the most in Pousadas per room", said Frederico Costa, Administrator of Pousadas Portugal, emphasising that “they are the second largest customer after the Portuguese”. Most of these American clients come from premium agencies like Virtuoso, paying an average daily rate of €150 or higher.

The Association of Hospitality of Portugal (AHP) confirms this trend and emphasises that Americans will be the fastest growing market in 2019, representing a golden opportunity for hotels.

Airlines powering growth

TAP Portugal’s new routes to both the US and Canada opened last year, powering tourist growth by bringing hundreds of Americans tourists to Lisbon every month.

With the new airport of Montijo, expected by 2022, Lisbon will double its capacity and will be able to receive around 43 million passengers per year by 2050. Several airlines have already requested new routes to the US and Canada... now it’s just a matter of time until new connections are announced.

- Added to shortlist

- Removed from the shortlist