UPDATE 1-Portuguese hotels lost 73% of revenue in 2020, see long recovery ahead

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LISBON, March 3 (Reuters) - Portuguese hotels lost 73% of total revenues last year compared to 2019, the Portuguese Hotel Association (AHP) said on Wednesday, as the COVID-19 pandemic drastically curbed travel from abroad, weighing on the tourism-dependent economy.

Over 60% of hotels said they did not expect business to return to 2019 levels until early 2023, showed a survey of 502 hotels conducted by the association last month.

Two-thirds of hotels were closed in January and February as Portugal imposed its second lockdown since the start of the pandemic to counter a surge in infection.

The majority of hotels do not expect to reopen until May. One in three hotels said they will either not reopen or are not sure when or whether they would.

“The impact of these closures ... is brutal on total revenues for the hotel industry,” Cristina Siza Vieira, CEO of the association, said in a video presentation.

“We know this will be another very hard year,” she said.

Portugal’s once-booming tourism sector suffered its worst results since the mid-1980s last year as the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdowns worldwide grounded flights and kept visitors away.

The fall in hotel occupancy rates was highest in Lisbon at 55%, according to AHP, followed by the autonomous regions of Acores and Madeira who saw a drop of around 45%. The Algarve suffered slightly less, registering a 33% fall.

Portugal, which has recorded a total of 805,647 COVID-19 cases and 16,389 deaths, is under a nationwide lockdown after a devastating surge in infections and hospitalisations at the beginning of the year that has since slowed down sharply. (Reporting by Victoria Waldersee, editing by Andrei Khalip)