Although billing via national cards has also risen, it was foreign tourists – especially the French – who contributed the most to the performance of national businesses, with their turnover soaring above 80%, according to data from a report by REDUNIQ, which analyses the evolution of card payments made in the country.

After a year-on-year growth of 45% in billing with national and foreign cards in the first six months of this year, Portuguese businesses continue the trend of recovery after the Covid-19 pandemic, having billed an additional 32.2% between 1 July and 15 September compared to the same period last year.

According to data from “REDUNIQ Insights”, to which ECO had access, there was a year-on-year growth of 19.6% in billing through national cards in the period under analysis, while consumption by foreigners in Portugal increased by 82.5% .

Who is spending the most?

Of billing via international cards, the French account for the largest share (18%), despite the fact that their weight in total consumption has fallen by seven percentage points. Behind France comes the United Kingdom, with 14% of of foreign consumption in Portugal this summer, followed by Ireland (11%), the United States (10%) and Spain (9%).

Analysing the average purchase price, the highlight goes to Irish tourists, who spent an average of 112 euros per purchase. North Americans are the second nationality that spends the most on holidays in Portugal, with an average value of 71 euros. The United Kingdom, France and Spain had similar purchase behaviour in these months, with an average value per transaction of 48, 46 and 40 euros, respectively.

It should be noted that REDUNIQ data follow the most recent estimates from the National Statistics Institute (INE) and the Bank of Portugal (BdP), which show, in the month of July alone, a 205.2% increase in the number of guests non-residents in Portugal compared to the same month of 2021. The recovery was so significant that July 2022 was the best month ever in terms of number of guests and overnight stays in the country.

Car rental boom

Among the different sectors of activity, the rent-a-car businesses recorded the best performance, with a year-on-year increase in total turnover (domestic and foreign cards) of 85% in the period from 1 July to 15 September. The total turnover of hotels and restaurants, two other areas associated with tourism, also had a high rise – by 71% and 50%, respectively – compared to the same period in 2021.

This strong growth in tourism business is also associated with the return of foreign tourists to Portugal, which contributed to an increase in hotel revenue by 117%, vehicle rental revenue by 110% and restaurant revenue by 98%.