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Portugal’s Tourism Sector Reaches New Heights in 2023

Portugal’s travel sector had an extraordinary year in 2023, as its revenue from tourism rocketed past CAD 36.5 billion, marking a hefty 18.5% leap from the prior year. Nuno Fazenda, who oversees Tourism, Trade, and Services, shared these record-breaking stats in Lisbon. He was especially proud of the 10.5% bump in people staying overnight. Fazenda proudly proclaimed, “It was the best year in the history of tourism in Portugal,” and he’s counting on even more progress in 2024.

Visitors from Great Britain, France, Spain, Germany, North America, and Brazil were major players in this triumph. As numbers went up, Portugal kicked off the “It’s not tourism. It’s Futourism” initiative in Lisbon. The plan? To boost eco-friendly tourism that pluses up local areas all year round.

Appeal of Portugal as a Tourist Destination

  • Affordability and Climate: Portugal’s cost-effectiveness and year-round pleasant temperatures make it a prime destination for tourists, especially Canadians.
  • Diverse Attractions: From cultural sites in Lisbon and Porto to wineries in the Douro Valley, golf, and hiking in the Algarve, and the outdoor paradise of the Azores, Portugal offers a rich variety of experiences.
  • Accessibility: The country is conveniently accessible, with flights from Toronto to Ponta Delgada in the Azores taking less than six hours.

Stable Growth Irrespective of Government Changes

Former Deputy Prime Minister Paulo Portas emphasized the stable growth of Portuguese tourism, regardless of government changes. Speaking at the 16th national convention of the Heavy Passenger Transport Association (ARP), he highlighted tourism’s vital role in propelling the national economy’s 2% growth, surpassing the European average. Tourism is projected to contribute to 20% of Portugal’s GDP. Portas stressed the importance of treating foreign tourists well, considering Portugal’s economic stature and the continuous upward trend in tourism.

Key Points by Paulo Portas

  • Tourism’s Impact on Economy: A major driver behind Portugal’s economic growth.
  • Sustained Growth: The sector’s expansion is expected to continue, barring a global crisis.

Optimistic Outlook for Future Tourism

Pedro Costa Ferreira, president of the Association of Travel and Tourism Agencies, forecasts record-breaking tourist bookings for the New Year in Portugal. Despite potential impacts from unstable political environments and other global issues, reservations have maintained a steady rate. Ferreira predicts that 2024 might be the best year for tourism in Portugal.

  • Diversified Destinations: Besides traditional hotspots like the Algarve and Madeira, regions such as Alentejo, Lisbon, the Center, the North, and the Azores are attracting more tourists with innovative offers.
  • Portuguese Travel Preferences: Popular international destinations for Portuguese travelers include Brazil, Cape Verde, Sao Tome, Cuba, and Disneyland Paris.
  • Statistical Insights: According to the National Institute of Statistics (INE), there was a 6.1% increase in trips by Portuguese citizens in the second quarter of 2023 compared to 2022, with a notable rise in domestic trips.

Strategic Initiatives and Future Prospects

Tourism in Portugal is booming, and both the government and private businesses are making plans to keep it growing and make it better. They want to bring in more visitors and at the same time, improve their time in Portugal. They’re also pushing for tourism that’s kind to the environment and can last a long time.

Government and Private Sector Collaboration

  • Sustainable Tourism: People are working hard to match the rise in tourism with looking after the environment and helping local communities do well.
  • Infrastructure Development: There’s a lot of money being put into better tourism facilities like transport, places to stay, and cultural spots. They’re doing this to handle more travelers.


Portugal’s travel industry has bounced back from the COVID-19 crisis, hitting new highs in the number of people staying overnight and how much money it’s making—beating records set before the pandemic started. Between January and July 2023, Portugal saw 16.8 million folks come to visit and had 42.8 million nights booked in accommodations—that’s 10% more than the top year of 2019. If you’re keen on knowing more about how Portugal’s tourism is doing and how it’s growing, have a look at

Jonas Muthoni
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