The Iberian Peninsula, one of the most popular destinations for Irish holidaymakers to travel abroad, saw a strong recovery in tourism this summer.

The number of foreign tourists visiting Portugal was slightly above pre-pandemic levels for the first time since most Covid-19 restrictions ended in July, according to data from the National Institute of Statistics (INE). shown.

More than 1.8 million foreigners stayed in Portuguese hotels this month, up from about 600,000 a year ago, when the country was still implementing some restrictions, and 1.78 million in July 2019. slightly outnumbered humans. This was a record year for tourism.

Meanwhile, the number of tourists visiting Spain in July was more than double the same month last year and is only slightly below pre-pandemic levels, data from the National Institute for Statistics shows. increase.

July’s 9.1 million visitors spent nearly €12 billion, more than double their 2021 visits.

Tourism receipts are an important factor in Spain’s Gross Domestic Product: before Covid halted international travel in 2020, it welcomed a record number of foreign tourists in 2019, and in July of that year 9.9 million people have visited.

Portugal’s tourism sector accounted for almost 15% of its gross domestic product before the pandemic. Despite a strong performance in July, the cumulative number of foreign visitors in the first seven months of the year was 8.1 million, about 1 million below the same period in 2019.

Visitors from Spain accounted for the largest share of Portugal’s total arrivals of 285,900 in July, followed by the United Kingdom and the United States, which have recently grown as a tourism resource.

Travel to the region is picking up, but this is due to Portugal’s location in the southwestern tip of Europe, far from the wars that ravaged Ukraine, and the general perception that Portugal is a safe place. Thanks to

Despite ongoing challenges of labor shortages and rampant inflation, the Spanish government expects tourist arrivals to reach 90% of pre-pandemic levels during this summer season.

Meanwhile, French Tourism Minister Olivia Gregoire said at a press conference this week that preliminary data showed the summer of 2022 was “exceptional.”

In 2019, France was the most visited country in the world, attracting nearly 90 million foreign tourists.

Asked if France is still targeting 100 million foreign tourists a year, Gregoire said: “It may not be impossible to reach that number, but this is what we can achieve. It’s a goal,” he said.

– Additional reporting by Pól Ó Conghaile

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