HOTELS in Portugal are fearing tourists may not return until 2021 due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis.
The Algarve, a popular holiday destination with Brits, isn't expecting international visitors to come back to the country until next April.
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Eliderico Viegas, head of the Association of Algarve Hotels and Tourism Enterprises, warned that "many hotels wont open this year".
He explained to Bloomberg that even if the country handles the pandemic well, he doesn't expect tourists to return to the region until April next year.
Until then, the industry will have to rely on domestic holidays with local bookings – although fears this is "insufficient" in keeping them open.
The Algarve is popular with tourists visiting Portugal, with tourism approximately 15 per cent of Portugal’s GDP.
The country has managed to avoid the high numbers of confirmed coronavirus cases, unlike their neighbour Spain and Italy.
The death toll is also much lower – 3 per cent of the 20,863 have been killed by the virus, compared to other countries which are over 10 per cent.
António Sales, the secretary of state for health in Portugal’s socialist minority government, told the Guardian that the response has "been based on the best scientific advice and on other countries’ experience," adding that they have been adapting and preparing for the "worst-case scenario".
Portugal's tourism industry isn't the only ones struggling – Spain fears similar problems with hotels expected to stay closed until the end of the year.
EU chief Ursula Von der Leyen has warned people against making any summer holiday plans, as we don't know yet how long the coronavirus pandemic will affect European countries.
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She said: "I'd advise everyone to wait before making holiday plans. At the moment, no one can make reliable forecasts for July and August.
"We will need to learn to live with this virus for many months, probably until next year."
Instead, tourists are being encouraged to think of domestic holidays instead – with Brits looking at a UK holiday this year.
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