Around 45% of Portuguese hotels have temporarily closed or are planning to do so due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, which kept most visitors away from the tourism-dependent country for over nine months.
In a survey of more than 500 hotels released on Wednesday, Hotels Association AHP said establishments in tourist regions such as the southern Algarve and the capital Lisbon were the most affected.
Most hotels plan to remain shut for around four months, with the vast majority saying they would reopen in March next year. Around 23% still do not know when they would be able to reopen.
In addition, 80% of hotels also said they reduced the number of staff because of the pandemic.
“One of the top priorities is to maintain jobs and as soon as possible to make people more confident to travel again,” said Tourism Secretary Rita Marques when asked about the AHP survey.
Last month, Marques said the sector was set to lose 60,000 jobs this year alone. In Algarve, the pandemic pushed the number of registered jobless up 134% to 24,088 in October from a year ago.
The tourism industry contributed about 15% to Portugal’s gross domestic product in 2018, latest official data show, but the sector collapsed this year, with revenues sliding nearly 65% between January and September.