River tourism in Douro recovers 23% in 2021 compared to the previous year

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Miguel Nogueira

Douro’s waterway (VND) received 279.151 passengers in 2021, a 23,34% recovery compared to 2020, a year with sharp falls due to Covid-19, according to the Administration of the Ports of Douro, Leixões and Viana do Castelo (APDL).

According to data made available on the website by the manager of VND, APDL, and published by Lusa, last year river tourism on the Douro river recorded a recovery of 23% compared to 2020, a year in which this area suffered a severe blow because of the Covid-19 pandemic and accounted for a drop of 86,24% compared to 2019.

In 2021, 279.151 passengers travelled on the waterway, 160.897 (58%) of them in cruises in the same reservoir and at night, 74.438 on one day cruises (27%), 33.307 on hotel boats (12%) and 10.151 (4%) on recreational boats.

In 2020, when due to the Covid-19 pandemic the boats were stopped between March and June/July, 226.333 passengers travelled on the Douro River, 86,24% less than in 2019, a year when 1.644.937 tourists travelled on that route, 26,92% more than in 2018.

According to data from the waterway manager, in 2021 there were 98 operators with registered activity on Douro River and 205 vessels with a capacity of 11.718 passengers.

Last year, the best months for river tourism were August (21,2%), followed by September (16,6%), July (15%) and October (12,9%), having been practically residual in the first quarter.

In 1990, with the opening of the 210 Kilometres of the VND between Porto and Barca d´Alva, a door was opened to tourism that was then consolidated in 2001 with the classification of Douro as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

As for the transport of goods on the waterway, according to APDL, 20.545 tonnes were transported last year, which represents a drop of 50,32% compared to 2020 (41.357 tonnes).