A new study carried out by the Portuguese Tourism Board has shown that despite the number of tourists to Portugal being on the up, more and more of them are opting to travel alone and stay with friends or family.
While the way that tourists are choosing to explore Portugal may be changing, the reason they come here remains the same – the weather – and more than 90 percent of visitors who took part in the survey said they intend coming back.
The national Tourism Board’s ‘Tourist Satisfaction’ survey is based on interviews carried out with 834 tourists from seven countries in August and September this year.
It is an annual project carried out since 2010 and aims to show what pleases and displeases visitors most about this country.
This year 67 percent of the holidaymakers said they would “definitely” be back to Portugal sometime in the next three years, while 27 percent said they would “probably” be back within that period.
Ninety-seven percent of Scandinavian tourists to Portugal vowed to return.
However, in comparison to 2012, the survey revealed that in the space of a year a lot has changed about the way that the interviewed tourists – from Spain, France, Brazil, the UK, Germany and the Netherlands – spend their time in Portugal, starting with the fact that more and more visitors are travelling alone.
Solo travellers made up 16 percent of the respondents in this year’s survey, whereas last year they represented just seven percent of participants.
Tourists travelling with children dropped significantly, from 24 percent in 2012 to nine percent this year, while people travelling with fellow adults remain approximately the same, rising slightly from 70 to 75 percent.
More and more vacationers are staying in Portugal for free, with friends or family, up nine percent on last year’s figures, rising from 10 to 19 percent. On the other hand, villa and apartment rentals have fallen from 27 percent in 2012 to 12 percent this year.
More than half of the queried visitors (52 percent) chose to stay in a hotel, apart-hotel or B&B, down just one percent on last year’s results.
Interestingly, six percent of the respondents said that they had stayed in a property belonging to them, up from the one percent registered last year.
By region, the most popular destinations have stayed the same but Lisbon has overtaken the Algarve as the number one place to visit.
This year, 48 percent of the tourists participating in the study said they had preferred to explore the capital, while 42 percent headed south to the Algarve.
Last year the Algarve had attracted 46 percent of visitors as Lisbon drew 42 percent.
Contrary to last year’s findings, this year more holidaymakers are being swayed to visit Portugal via recommendations from family and friends than by what they see on the Internet, though the main reason for their holiday is, as it has been since 2010, the weather.
The vast majority of foreign visitors leave Portugal satisfied, particularly with the landscape, gastronomy, wine and beaches, but it seems services – more specifically health, car rental, restaurant and water sports services – leave something to be desired.
When asked what they would most like to see changed in Portugal the respondents were decisive in answering they would like a solution to the economic crisis, cheaper prices and less pollution.