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Are the Portuguese embracing the ‘staycation’ phenomenon?

Are the Portuguese embracing the ‘staycation’ phenomenon?

The term ‘staycation’ may have been applied more liberally to people from the UK opting to stay and holiday at home, rather than head off to foreign climes, but it’s not solely a UK phenomenon it seems. A revealing report from the Portuguese National Statistics Institute (INE), showed that in comparison to 2010, residents of Portugal have travelled significantly less.

The most shocking statistic from the recently published figures revealed that although the Portuguese made 2.8 million trips during the months of January to March 2011 (a 1.1 per cent drop on 2010), the number of journeys abroad had dropped by a staggering 5.6 per cent from 2010 (to just 226,000 of the 2.8 million trips).

“This difference is largely justified by the economic climate we are living in, in as much as trips abroad are potentially more expensive [than staying in Portugal]”, the INE explained during a press conference to unveil the figures.

Certainly, this news will not come as a surprise to many holidaymakers in the UK who have long known about the excellent deals to be had at hotels in Portugal. Indeed, whether it is enjoying year-long golfing opportunities, soaking up the summer sun, or tasting the fine local produce on one of the many available holidays to Madeira, there is an almost indefinable quality to the country that keeps enticing people back and now, seemingly, the Portuguese to stay at home.

It is not difficult to see why, even if we discount the financial problems that have beset most of the western world, there are still plenty of attractions within Portugal that would attract locals regardless. A warm climate is one such positive feature, as is the large number of high-quality cheap hotels on offer, and the fact that the country is steeped in tradition, global history and blessed with outstanding beaches (as well as many other such natural attractions).

So, if you’ve often wondered why people from beautiful, sunny countries ever want to go abroad (to rain-soaked cities such as London), the answer is: they are increasingly choosing not to. Perhaps unsurprisingly, trips solely for recreation fell by around 17.8 per cent, but they still represent almost one out of every three reasons that a Portuguese resident chooses to travel. The evidence presented by the INA suggests that the typical Portuguese resident is becoming ever more aware that their country has plenty to offer, from staying with family for a few days, to city breaks and fully-fledged holidays within Portugal itself. Another reason why the Portuguese may be turning to their own country for holidays is increasing air travel costs.

Certainly, the evidence seems to suggest that the Portuguese are the latest nationality to embrace the concept of a ‘staycation’. Given the great value of travel agencies at the moment, combined with the wide range of resorts available, superb facilities and a fantastic year-round climate, it is possible that many Brits may well be tempted to join them on their golden beaches; it’s either that or take a ‘staycation’ of their own on the frequently windswept and rain-soaked island that is Britain!