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
"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 August.
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