The tourist market of the Algarve region hosted, in 2014, around 3.6 million guests, which corresponded to a 14.5% increase over 2013, representing an important increase of the growth rate over the 3.6% recorded from 2012 to 2013.
Most recorded guests came from external markets (2.48 million), representing a share of 70%, having increased in all main markets, except for the Dutch; an absolute highlight is the increase in the number of guests from the United Kingdom (+ 109,600), Spain (60,600), France (30,900), Germany (15,100) and Ireland (12,200).
In relative terms the most significant growth rate was that of the French market (+34.4%), than Spain (26.7%), the national market (20.1%), United Kingdom (12.2%) and Scandinavia (11.4%). Last year stays in Algarve hotels saw a global increase of 11.2%, reaching 16.4 million, data that again confirms that the Algarve is the main holiday destination in the country, with a share of 35.5%.
The region surpasses Lisbon (11.5 million stays), Madeira (5.9 million), North (5.4 million), Centre (4.1 million), Alentejo (1.3 million) and Azores (1 million). In the 2014 balance the region gained 1.65 million de stays in comparison with the previous year, 1 million new stays corresponding to foreign tourists and 650 thousand to national tourists.
Evolution of the main markets in 2014
The five main markets of the region represented 80% of recorded stays in 2014, namely the national market, United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands and Ireland.
PORTUGAL: the national market represented 24.6% of tourist stays recorded in Algarve hotels during 2014, totalling 4 million, a value that represents a 19.2% increase from 2013. To tourists recorded in hotels one must add the flow of guests lodged in private establishments or using a second house, a phenomenon difficult to quantify given that there are no official data.
UNITED KINGDOM: it is still the second market in number of hotel guests and the greatest market in number of stays, with a share of 43% among external markets, having recorded 5.318 million stays in 2014, which means a 9.3% increase from the previous year. According to the database of the tourism team in the United Kingdom, there are presently around 100 operators with regular programmes for Portugal (list published in the website www.portugaloffice.org.uk). The depreciation of the euro against the sterling, which began in August 2013, still exerts clearly positive influence on the evolution of this market. This fact, together with moderate prices in the tourism sector in response to the crisis, help Portugal appear as one of the most competitive tourist destinations for the British market. This reality is completed with the positive vision resulting from the favourable evolution expected for the main macroeconomic variables published in the last forecasts report of the European Commission, indicating an acceleration of GDP growth, lesser inflation and lower unemployment rate. Faro Airport has air links to about 20 cities in the United Kingdom, programmed flights having a potential maximum capacity of 1.6 million passengers. The main cities with air links to Faro are London (potential 528 thousand passengers), Manchester (182 thousand), Nottingham (127 thousand), Bristol (115 thousand) and Belfast (95 thousand). Other cities are Birmingham, Blackpool, Bournemouth, Cardiff, Doncaster, Edinburgh, Exeter, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, Londonderry, Newcastle, Southampton and Southend.
GERMANY: Germany represents, traditionally, the second greatest external market sending tourists to the Algarve. It is the first sending market in Europe, with 82.5 million tourists and the second greatest sending market worldwide, after China. In 2014 the German market recorded 1.586 million stays in hotels, which corresponds to a 5.1% increase from the previous year. The share, among the main external markets of the region, was 12.8%. The Algarve has direct air links to around a dozen German cities, including Frankfurt, Dusseldorf, Munich, Cologne and Berlin. Other cities are Bremen, Dortmund, Hamburg, Hannover and Stuttgart.
THE NETHERLANDS: Market sending 28.1 million tourists in 2012, with 2.7% of world share. The Algarve is still the main destination region for the Dutch that visit our country, with a share of 65.8% of stays. In 2014 the Dutch market recorded 1.363 million stays in hotels, which corresponded to a 0.3% decrease when compared to 2013. The share, among the main external markets of the region, was 11%. The main cities with air links to Faro are Amsterdam, Eindhoven, Rotterdam, Maastricht and Groningen.
IRELAND: The Irish market recorded 960 thousand stays in hotels in 2014, which corresponds to a 7.5% increase when compared with 2013. The main cities with air links to Faro are Dublin, Cork, Shannon, Kerry and Knock.