It expanded by 5.3% in the year, more than double the EU average of 2.5%. Accordingly, €1 of every €5 spent in the country was from travellers, with 1.05 million people employed in travel and tourism, representing 21.8% of all jobs.
The impact of COVID-19 on the country’s air transport network was severe. From a peak of 3.6 million departure seats in the market in August 2019, Portugal fell to just 162,880 the following April. A slight return saw 1.8 million seats in the market in August 2020, roughly half of the amount in the previous year.
However positive momentum this summer, coupled with the UK government listing Portugal among its “green list” of quarantine-free travel, is leading to a rebound.
In May 2021 there were just over 1m departure seats in the market, more than three times the 321,920 seen in the corresponding month of last year. Currently there are 2.8 million seats scheduled for August 2021, a figure which could well rise further when the EU’s new Digital Green Pass comes online in July.
Photo credit: Rob Finlayson