With its urban and seaside tourist offer, Portugal is a hotspot for leisure tourism (also reinforced by the fallouts of the “Arab spring”). In 2015, the destination reached a new peak in international arrivals, climbing above the 10-million threshold.
Foreign markets generate 70.1% of overnights in Portugal. The number of visitors from the main feeder markets is growing: especially from France (+140% compared to 2007), Germany (+28.8% compared to 2007), the Netherlands (+19.4% from 2007) and from Belgium (+39.5% from 2007). Lagging behind since the beginning of the crisis, the number of Spanish visitors finally exceeds 2007 marks. The British, that are the main visitors of the country, fell sharply between 2007 and 2010; but for a couple of years they have been on a strong rebound trend. Therefore, British arrivals climbed up to 10% above 2007 marks.
In contrast, the number of non-European visitors dropped slightly as a result of the decrease in Brazilian and Russian arrivals, mainly due their political and economic environments. Meanwhile, North American and Asian clienteles remain on an upward trend.
Lisbon is the leading destination of the country, followed by the Algarve region (South of the country) and Madeira. Portugal also focuses on another strategic tourist product – golf courses. High quality infrastructures are mainly concentrated in the Algarve region and close to Lisbon. The country has set ambitious targets on this market, as many foreigners are interested in golf (especially high-earning professionals) and it may become an important element in choosing their holiday destination.
Another asset to bring in visitors is the wellness and nature-related tourism. The country benefits from different types of landscapes, for example, the coast along Algarve, Azores and Madeira archipelagos or the vine regions nearby Porto.
In addition, tax benefits granted by the authorities and low prices on the real estate are set to lead to an increase in the number of foreign tourists coming on a long stay. An objective is to attract foreign visitors by making Portugal an appealing place for retirement; to achieve it the government implemented a policy of no tax on pensions, compensated by additional taxes on real estate.
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