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Portugal is big in America

US tourism in Portugal grows by more than 16%.

North American tourists now lead hotel occupancy in Lisbon, according to new data published by Expresso this Wednesday.

In the first quarter of 2024, North Americans spent around 410 thousand overnight stays in the Portuguese capital, which meant year-on-year growth of 16.2%.

In national terms, Portuguese hotels received 1.16 million overnight stays from North American tourists, with year-on-year growth of 16.6%, being the fourth largest foreign market in the country, after the United Kingdom, Germany and France.

A recent article published on the Wall Street Journal (thanks to reader Moshe Behar for drawing my attention to it) highlighted that southern Europe is experiencing an an unprecedented tourism boom driven largely by American tourists.

This boom is turbocharging growth in places that had become bywords for economic stagnation, creating hundreds of thousands of jobs and filling the coffers of governments recently shaken by sovereign debt fears.

According to the article: “Centuries-old facades are being polished up after years of neglect. Planning is under way for a new airport, twice the size of the existing one, and for a three-hour high-speed rail link to Madrid in neighboring Spain. The Tribeca Film Festival will come to town this fall. 

Room rates in the city are rising, and tourism investment is flooding in. Gonçalo Dias, director and co-owner of the Ivens, a $1,000-a-night hotel in downtown Lisbon, said he plans to add a jazz club in the basement. More than half of his room reservations come from Americans.”

Good Morning America

Incidentally, or maybe not, this week, the most watch morning show in America, “Good Morning America”, was broadcast from Portugal on the morning of Thursday, June 20, 2024.

With the Palácio da Pena, in Sintra, as the backdrop, presenter Robin Roberts went on air highlighting the history, architecture and natural beauty of our country.

“It’s easy to see why Portugal is on so many travel lists. There is so much to see and do here”, praised the pivot, starting a special program entirely dedicated to Portugal and for which she interviewed Americans on tourism and living in Portugal.

The trip through Portugal began in the Algarve, with the entrance to the Benagil cave, in Portimão, a starting point to talk about the Portuguese beaches that attract so much North American tourists. Porto, Lisbon and Sintra followed with Robin Roberts trying to understand why so many North Americans – around 10 thousand – currently live in Portugal.

During the special, there was no shortage of Portuguese music, in particular fado, with Carminho performing live, singing “O Quarto”, the song he wrote in the film “Pobres Criaturas” and which won the Oscar for best actress. to Emma Stone. Still from the Pena Palace, Robin Roberts presented different typical Portuguese sweets, from Sintra sweets, with pillows and queijadas, to Lisbon with the much-loved Belém pastries. The North was not forgotten either, with the Douro to be represented by Port wine.

There was also an opportunity to talk about cork and the products that can be made from it. The tour of our country ended with offers of national specialties to the pivot's colleagues who accompanied her in the studio, George Stephanopoulos, Lara Spencer and Michael Strahan.

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