Tourism in Portugal

Tourism in Portugal

Portugal recorded a total of four million tourists in 2020, ranking 41st in the world in absolute terms.

That smaller countries regularly perform lower in a comparison of the absolute number of guests, is obvious. By putting the tourist numbers in relation to the population of Portugal, the result is much more comparable picture: With 0.41 tourists per resident, Portugal ranked 72nd in the world. In Southern Europe, it ranked 11th.

In 2020, Portugal generated around 10.52 billion US dollars in the tourism sector alone. This corresponds to 4.1 percent of its the gross domestic product and approximately 22 percent of all international tourism receipts in Southern Europe.

Worldwide comparisons:
International tourism
List of safest travel countries

Back to overview: Portugal

The most popular cities in Portugal for international travelers are Lisbon and Porto. In 2021, Lisbon ranked 17th among the world's most popular cities. Porto was in 68th.

Tourism in PortugalOn average, each of the tourists arriving in 2020 spent about 2,375 US dollars. Conversely, the inhabitants of Portugal spend as much as 4,938 dollars a year when they themselves spend vacations abroad.

Development of the tourism sector in Portugal from 1995 to 2020

The following chart shows the number of tourist arrivals registered in Portugal each year. Anyone who spends at least one night in the country but does not live there for more than 12 months is considered a tourist. Insofar as the survey included the purpose of the trip, business trips and other non-tourism travel purposes have already been excluded. The number of people passing through within the same day, and e.g., crew members of ships or flights are also not considered tourists in most countries. If the same person travels in and out more than once within the same year, each visit counts again.

Data in the chart are given in millions of tourists. The red line represents the average of all 14 countries in Southern Europe.

Tourists per year in Portugal

Revenues from tourism

In 1995, tourism revenues amounted to 5.65 billion USD, or about 4.8 percent of the gross national product. This corresponded to about 9.51 million tourists at that time and roughly 594 USD per person. Within 25 years, the country's dependence on tourism has increased drastically. Before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, sales were $24.59 billion billion, 10.25 percent of gross national product. Thus, each visitor spent an average of $1,423 on their vacation in Portugal.

In 2020, tourist receipts plummeted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Of the $24.59 billion billion (2019), only $10.52 billion billion remained. This is a 57 percent decrease in Portugal.

Tourism receipts in Portugal per year

All data for Portugal in detail

YearNumber of touristsReceipts% of GNPReceipts per tourist
20204.21 m10.52 bn $4.6 %2,500 $
201917.28 m24.59 bn $10.25 %1,423 $
201816.19 m24.37 bn $10.06 %1,505 $
201715.43 m21.59 bn $9.8 %1,399 $
201613.36 m17.35 bn $8.4 %1,299 $
201511.72 m16.01 bn $8.0 %1,365 $
201410.50 m17.58 bn $7.6 %1,674 $
20139.18 m16.08 bn $7.1 %1,752 $
20127.50 m14.58 bn $6.7 %1,943 $
20117.26 m14.91 bn $6.1 %2,053 $
20106.76 m12.98 bn $5.5 %1,922 $
20096.44 m12.36 bn $5.1 %1,919 $
20086.96 m14.08 bn $5.3 %2,023 $
20076.79 m12.95 bn $5.4 %1,907 $
200611.28 m10.49 bn $5.0 %930 $
200510.61 m9.04 bn $4.6 %852 $
200410.64 m8.90 bn $4.7 %837 $
200311.71 m7.69 bn $4.7 %657 $
200211.64 m6.64 bn $4.9 %571 $
200112.17 m6.26 bn $5.2 %515 $
200012.10 m6.03 bn $5.1 %498 $
199911.63 m6.05 bn $4.7 %520 $
199811.30 m6.39 bn $5.2 %566 $
199710.17 m5.42 bn $4.6 %532 $
19969.73 m5.57 bn $4.5 %573 $
19959.51 m5.65 bn $4.8 %594 $

Our data on tourist numbers, revenues and expenditures are based on information from the World Tourism Organization. However, to ensure international comparability, the data for some years or countries were manually researched and corrected if they obviously included visitors without overnight stays. In these cases, the data were taken from the official communications of the respective national tourism authorities.

The World Tourism Organization additionally points out that in some countries, the number of tourists is only counted at airports, while in others they are also counted at border crossings or even hotels. A comprehensive and reliable indication is therefore hardly possible in any country.

Comparison: quality of lifeQuality of life 2023 in country comparisonCompare the quality of life around the globe: In which countries is life pleasant, safe and healthy?
Ranking: MegacitiesMega cities - the biggest cities all over the worldRanking of the biggest cities worldwide. On top: Shanghai, Chongqing and Beijing
Venezuela: InflationInflation rates in VenezuelaDevelopment of inflation rates over the last 40 years in Venezuela incl. comparison with the U.S.