England fans seeking solace from their World Cup woe were shunning Portugal as a holiday destination after the
national squad knocked England out of the tournament, travel agents said.
Portugal beat England on penalties after Saturday's goalless
quarter-final in Gelsenkirchen, causing misery for England supporters
hoping their team could become world champions.
"Last week, Portugal was our fourth most-searched destination -- but
since Saturday it's fallen down to 15th place," said John Bevan from
online travel agent Lastminute.com.
"We expect interest will bounce back but at the moment the loss is
still a bit raw. But we hope that English holidaymakers don't boycott the
Algarve for long as a result of the match."
Portugal's southernmost province of Algarve accounts for nearly half of
all tourist arrivals to the country. Most visitors arrive during July and
British visitors accounted for 40.5 percent of all overnight stays in
the province last year, according to figures from the Algarve Hotel and
Tourism Businesses Association (AHETA).
The president of the association, Eliderico Viegas, said the decline in
interest in the Algarve as a tourist destination was most likely due to a
lack of availability of hotel rooms in the province at this time of year.
"I don't believe football would have so much influence. At any rate they are already used to losing to
Portugal just like we are used to losing to France," he said.
Portugal defeated England on penalties during World Cup quarter-final
match in Germany, just like they did at the same stage of Euro 2004.
Meanwhile competitor Thomas Cook said bookings surged by 35 percent on
Sunday and Monday as fans looked to get away from it
all following England's failure to make the World Cup