In the 1st quarter of 2020, residents in Portugal took a total of 3.7 million trips, corresponding to a decrease of 20.0%, following +9.3% in the 4th Q 2019. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the declaration of the state of emergency in March resulted in a 70.0% decrease in this month, which explains the decline observed in the quarter, given that in January and February the number of trips had increased by 8.4% and by 5.2%, respectively. Despite this decline, there was a significant increase in the number of overnight stays spent by tourists away from their usual environment in March: 9.2 nights compared with 3.96 in February and 3.86 in January.
In the 1st quarter of 2020, tourism trips within the national territory stood for 88.1% of the total, decreasing by 19.6%. Tourism trips to foreign countries (11.9% of the total) totalled 444.2 thousand (-22.9% in the quarter), having declined by 81.9% in March (+18.3% in February and +5.3% in January).
“Leisure, recreation or holidays” was the main reason to travel in the 1st quarter of 2020 (1.5 million trips, -14.6%), increasing its representativeness (40.8% of the total, compared to 38.2% in the same quarter a year earlier). The “visit to relatives or friends” as a motivation to travel corresponded to 1.5 million trips (39.3% of the total; -5.0 p.p.), declining by 29.1%.
“Hotels and similar” concentrated 21.2% of overnight stays resulting from tourism trips in the 1st quarter of 2020, losing weight in total (-3.7 p.p.). “Free private accommodation” continued to stand as the main accommodation option (73.9% of overnight stays), being the only type of accommodation to strengthen its representativeness.
The information in this press release, referring to the 1st quarter of 2020, reflects the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, both on the performance of the economic activity, namely on Tourism Demand, and on obtaining primary information. Despite the difficulties, we call for the best collaboration of enterprises, households, and public entities in responding to requests from Statistics Portugal. The quality of official statistics, particularly their capacity to identify the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, depends crucially on this collaboration, which Statistics Portugal is grateful for in advance.