The Pestana Group, one of the largest hotel chains in Portugal, has reopened eight locations as it seeks to resume its operations gradually.

The company, which has 76 properties, aims to open 25% of its capacity by 1 July, Reuters reported. The plan includes opening 50% of its hotels by August-September, subject to increase in demand.

The reopened locations include the luxurious Pousada D. Afonso II in the city of Alcacer do Sal, around 90km from Lisbon.

Pestana Group CEO Jose Teothonio was quoted by the news agency as saying: “We are very concerned, but we are not desperate. Our maxim now is to gain flexibility. Therefore, we’re going to do an experiment, starting tomorrow, when we’ll open eight units.”

Portugal’s tourism sector was significantly hit due to the Covid-19 pandemic and related restrictions. However, the hoteliers are keen to resume some operations during the key summer season.

Another hotel chain, Hoteis Real, plans to open two locations in the middle of this month.

Last year, foreign visitors totalled 16 million in the country.

Portuguese Hotel Association head Cristina Siza Vieira forecasted that revenues may plummet 89% this year.

Portugal has reported around 34,000 Covid-19 cases, as of 5 June. The death toll stands at 1,455.

Globally, the disease has infected more than 6.6 million people and killed 391,000.