by Namrata Majithia 19th July 2021
McKinsey study says Portugal’s tourism losses are massive, recovery could take till 2024

Portugal could have accumulated losses of 60 billion euros and up to 600,000 jobs could have been eliminated in tourism, when the sector recovers from the effects of the pandemic.

According to a report on tourism in Portugal, carried out by the consultancy McKinsey, in global terms, it is estimated that, “between 2020 and 2023, Portugal could lose 60 billion euros of GDP (equivalent to 26 percent of the levels of GDP in 2019), considering both direct and indirect and induced effects”. “Additionally, at the peak of the crisis, the sector could lose up to 600,000 jobs, some of which may not be recovered in the future”.


The study highlights the importance of tourism for the Portuguese economy, since it is responsible for 18.6 percent of the total employment in the country, if the direct, indirect and induced effects are taken into account.  In places like the Algarve , Madeira and the Azores, the sector represents more than 20 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and local jobs. The consultants also highlights the impact that the crisis in tourism has had on other sectors of the economy, “which depend on this traffic to stay afloat, such as shopping centres, restaurants and retailers”.


The report predicts that domestic tourism in Portugal may not return to pre-pandemic levels until 2023, and  international tourism, which is about four times greater than domestic tourism, may recover by 2024. “Although it is impossible to predict when the sector may show signs of recovery, there are many measures that the sector’s players could be developing immediately”, says McKinsey’s, indicating three priorities “for a faster and more sustainable recovery ”: increasing the competitiveness of companies through digitisation, collaboration models within the sector and “creating a new paradigm” for the tourism of the future.


McKinsey’s analysis suggests that event tourism (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions), group travel, cruises, individual travel and urban tourism will be most affected by the pandemic and will take longer to recover, while on the other hand, second-home tourism, ecotourism and religious, sporting and cultural tourism will be less affected and are expected to recover more quickly.

Finally, the report points out five key factors that will determine how quickly the national tourism sector can recover: the attractiveness of the main destinations, the availability of air capacity, the capacity and quality of healthcare, the weight of business travel and the importance of sustainability.