The end of this pandemic remains uncertain, almost a mirage. Its effects on the real national economy have been tragic and devastating, with the State choosing to invest the meager resources that have been given to us by Europe itself, with almost nothing left for the necessary economic recovery or to stop the social crisis that begins to settle.
We are facing one of the biggest financial crises known, with a deficit of 8,4% of GDP this year, public debt soaring to 133,8% of the national annual wealth and the State more indebted than ever. And one of the sectors that this pandemic has most affected is Tourism, precisely the one that helped us out of the last crisis. To all agents of this activity - hotels, restaurants, local businesses, tour operators, transport, etc. - this pandemic is coming out very expensive.
In 2019, tourism revenues in the national territory amounted to 18 billion euros. According to data from Banco de Portugal, known today, the drop in the first eight months of the year (until August) was more than 55,8% in revenues, with the effects of the pandemic only being felt more from March.
Even so, it should be noted that, despite the almost nonexistence of foreign tourists, there was an increase in domestic tourism in areas such as the North, Center and Alentejo, to the detriment of the Algarve, Lisbon and Porto. More rural and nature tourism was consumed, than coastal and metropolitan areas, the main tourist regions of the country. This change in consumption patterns in tourism, with the search for destinations closer to home, more isolated, with less population density, is here to stay. However, in the global pie and without external sector, it represents very little and, in fact, the country is not, nor was it prepared for this change.
Banco de Portugal statistics now reveal how much was left to gain and the actual losses in relation to last year of the amount that represent the revenues of foreign tourists in Portugal. Tourism revenues from January to August represented 5,6 billion euros, and in 2019 in the same period they had been 12,8 billion euros, minus 7,2 billion euros injected into the local economy.
The difference is huge. There are 7,2 billion euros less spent in Portugal, due to the effects of Covid-19 in the implementation of measures to stop the contagion of the disease, namely, social confinement and limiting the movement of people, especially from Europe, USA and Brazil - the main issuing markets - which, by not traveling abroad, or by doing so more sparingly, spent less.
Fears about the future and the evolution of the pandemic, together with the economic crisis that has taken place, bring a huge loss of purchasing power for families. I have insisted in my writings that we need to make good use of the many billions of euros that Europe is making available to us. There is even a lot of wisdom, rigor and discretion in the application of this money, as it is a decisive support to fight this economic and social crisis and turn it into a new opportunity for the future of all Portuguese.
Projecting the post-crisis period and our economic recovery, in which tourism is just one example, is decisive for our collective future. Our mission must be to mitigate and overcome the effects of the pandemic, to prepare the future for prosperity, for socio-economic development. Europe's support will be extremely important to overcome this situation and our effort is essential to successfully emerge from it.