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The number of tourists coming to Portugal continues to grow, however the positive trend is showing signs of slowing according to the National Statistics Institute (INE).

A report by the INE showed that the number of overnight stays in hotel and tourist accommodation was up by 8.6% in February but while this number is hugely positive it does represent a slowdown when compared to January.

The INE found that there were 1.1 million guests in February, a rise of 8.6% compared to the same period in 2016, however the year-on-year increase in January had been 13.8%.

The slow in tourism growth is not being seen as a negative factor, mainly due to the fact that tourism levels have been growing at such a fast rate that this would not be sustainable for a continued period.  It also has to be considered that there is only a finite amount of holiday accommodation available in the region.

The continued rise in popularity of Portugal as a tourism destination has meant that holiday makers looking to soak up the sunshine in the country are being advised to book early to ensure that they are able to find suitable accommodation to fit their budget and dates.  There is a wide choice of holiday accommodation offers available in the Algarve especially, but early booking is advisable.

According to the INE report, travellers from the UK continue to make up the largest nationality of visitors to Portugal, accounting for some 21% of overnight stays.  This is followed by Germans at 15% and the Spanish at 9%.

By nationality, the biggest increase in the number of overnight stays in February was among Brazilians, up by 35%, Polish, 305 up, US citizens, up 17%, and Irish visitors rose by 16%.

An increase in direct flights to various parts of Europe has been seen as a factor in encouraging more people to visit Portugal and the Algarve and a new direct flight between China and Portugal has now also been launched.

According to the Portugal News, a direct flight between China and Portugal will be launched on 26 July, Beijing Capital Airlines said this week, coinciding with Portugal’s efforts to attract more Chinese tourists.

The flight will depart three times a week between Hangzhou, on the east coast of China, and Lisbon, with a stopover in Beijing, the Chinese airline’s marketing department told Lusa News Agency.