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Hotel occupancy rates in the Algarve region of Portugal registered their highest rates in 20 years during April this year, according to the largest Portuguese hoteliers’ association.

"The average overall occupancy rate per room was 68.4%, up 12.1 [percentage points] from April 2018, with the Easter season having positively influenced the results," the Algarve Tourist Resorts and Hotels Association (AHETA) said in a statement.

AHETA added that growth in turnover has also kept pace with that of occupancy, with numbers showing that in April, turnover was up 9% on a year earlier.

In comments to Lusa news agency, the AHETA’s president, Elidérico Viegas, stated that “the fact that the Easter holidays were in the middle of the month, originating greater demand for the Algarve from the domestic Spanish and British markets, contributed to the excellent occupancy rate."

There was, he said, “a significant increase” in demand above all from Spanish and Portuguese visitors, “in line with the trend observed in recent years."  However the British market still remains strong in the Algarve with increases seen from visitors from the UK.

Bookings from Spanish visitors more than doubled (up 105%), from Portuguese they were up almost 40%, and from the UK almost 10%. Demand from France and the Netherlands were down 32% and 19% respectively.

Overall, Viegas said, occupancy rates appear not to have been affected by the short strike by drivers of dangerous goods lorries, over the Easter period.

According to provisional data from AHETA, the average occupation per room in April was the highest for the month since at least 1999, when a rate of 67.7% was registered.

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