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Sharp reduction in tourist activity in March with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic
Tourism activity
Sharp reduction in tourist activity in March with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic - March 2020
15 May 2020


The tourist accommodation sector registered 697.7 thousand guests and 1.9 million overnight stays in March 2020, corresponding to year-on-year rates of change of -62.3% and -58.7% respectively (+15.2% and +14.8% in February 2020, in the same order). Overnight stays of residents declined by 57.6% (+26.6% in February) and those of non-residents decreased by 59.2% (+9.5% in the previous month).
In March 2020, the average stay (2.72 nights) increased by 9.6% (+11.4% concerning residents and +9.2% in the case of non-residents). The net bed occupancy rate (17.0%) decreased by 21.8 p.p. (+1.8 p.p. in February).
Total revenue decreased by 60.2% (+13.4% in February) attaining EUR 98.9 million. Revenue from accommodation stood at EUR 71.8 million, declining by 59.7% (+15.5% in the previous month).
The average revenue per available room (RevPAR) decreased by 57.4% to EUR 14.4 (+6.3% in the previous month). The average daily rate (ADR) stood at EUR 66.1, declining by 6.2% (+2.4% in February).
In March, when considering the whole set of means of accommodation (tourist accommodation establishments, camping sites, holiday camps, and youth hostels) it registered 746.1 thousand guests and 2.1 million overnight stays, corresponding to rate changes of -61.8% and -57.1% respectively (+15.6% and +15.2% in February, in the same order). The number of overnight stays of residents decreased by 56.6% (+26.6% in February) and those of non-residents declined by 57.3% (+9.9% in the previous month).
Through an additional specific questionnaire which, during April and the first week of May, Statistics Portugal promoted and obtained answers from around 4,600 establishments, on the prospects for tourist activity in the coming months until August, 78.9% of the tourist accommodation establishments responding pointed out that the COVID-19 pandemic led to the cancellation of bookings scheduled for March to August 2020 (these establishments represent 90.9% of the capacity of the establishments responding).

The information in this press release regarding March already reflects the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic in both the performance of the tourist activity and the quantity of the available primary information in the compilation of the results presented. Despite the difficulties, we ask for the best collaboration by firms, households, and public entities in answering the requests to obtain information. The quality of official statistics depends crucially on this collaboration that Statistics Portugal is grateful for in advance.

Press release
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