This post was written by Ralph Starks, a blogger and traveler who enjoys exploring the world in the best ways possible.

porto portugal

Portugal is one of the many countries struggling to reinject movement into the tourism industry in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.

But in these first few weeks of 2023, several promising signs point towards recovery.

The year ahead is set to surpass all expectations and with changes like the ETIAS Portugal and the new ‘Digital Nomad Visa’ coming into play, the sector is ready for a profitable year. The head of Portugal’s Ministry of Tourism, Luis Araújo, attended the International Tourism Trade Fair this year in Madrid and explained that the country surpassed its tourism revenue from 2019, saying that “[they] recovered earlier than we anticipated.”

Portugal’s tourism industry markedly recovered from pandemic

“What we are forecasting for 2023 is to continue the growth we had in 2022, obviously, with great uncertainties, from the war in Ukraine to inflation. But we believe we are very well positioned”, Araújo explained.

The estimated revenue at the end of 2022 stood at €22 billion as opposed to €18 billion in 2019. “Portugal ended the year 2022 with 22,000 million euros, which is absolutely extraordinary because, in one year, we not only managed to recover what we did in 2019 but also surpassed the results by another 20 percent”, said Portugal’s Minister of Economy, Antonio Costa Silva.

Araújo emphasized that airports are a key player in this recovery and growth strategy, saying:

“Our role is, together with each of our airports, and there is still room to grow in many of the airports, to try to demonstrate this capacity of attraction for all regions. What we understand is that there is obviously a ‘hub’, which is Lisbon, and makes this distribution, but there are many reasons of interest for many markets to destinations like Algarve, the north or the islands.”

World Tourism Awards 2022: Portugal’s awards

Another esteemed acclamation for Portugal was its sweep at the World Tourism Awards in 2022, picking up 12 honors across various categories. Porto won the award for Best City Destination while Lisbon and Madeira were crowned as the Best Metropolitan Seaside Destination and the Best Island Destination respectively. Other recognized attractions and hotels include Paiva Walkways as the best Adventure Tourism Attraction, the Best Golf & Villa Resort (Dunas Douradas Beach Club), and Amazing Evolution​ as the Best Boutique Hotel Operator.

Ryanair plans route expansion in Portugal for 2023

One of the most popular low-cost carriers in the world, Ryanair, has added 19 more routes from Portuguese airports into the rest of Europe and they have also increased the frequency of other flights. The summer 2023 schedule for Ryanair will include 8 new routes from Faro and 11 from Porto with an increase in frequency on 30 existing routes.

This means the carrier will operate 1,600 flights a month to and from Portugal, with some of the new destinations including Rome, Toulouse, and Barcelona. The airline also added that they would have added more flights to this schedule but airport logistics and skyrocketing taxes prevented them from doing so.

“It is regrettable that we have not been able to deliver the same growth to Lisbon because TAP refuses to release its unused slots, and due to increased airport charges and higher ETS fees making Portugal’s islands airports totally uncompetitive.”

Connecting Portugal to North America

Data from the National Institute of Statistics showed that a record number of Americans visited Spain in September 2022. More than 204,000 Americans visited Portugal, third only to Spain with 213,000 incoming passengers and 263,000 Brits. The president of SATA Group, Luis Rodriguez, has confirmed that they will be renting an Airbus A330 to keep up with the demand for tickets between Portugal and North America.

The rental would last through the summer and would operate from Oakland to the Azorean archipelago and could include California too. “The most economical and efficient was this one. We did all the calculations that we had to do, with all the assumptions. We have already started to receive pictures of the store in Oakland full of people wanting to buy tickets for the summer”, Rodriguez confirmed.