Edition 1453
09 December 2017
Edition: 1453

Read this week's issue online exactly as it appears in print.

Twitter

Algarve hotels wary of finalists’ trips as students ‘riot’ in Spain

by Carrie-Marie Bratley, in Algarve · 12-04-2017 12:42:00 · 0 Comments

Hotels in the Algarve have, in recent years, reportedly upped their prices and deposit fees over the Easter period as a way of deterring high school finishing students from staying in the region for the traditional ‘finalists’ break. This emerged as more than 1,000 Portuguese finalists were kicked out of a hotel in southern Spain last weekend amid claims of disagreements and vandalism.

Algarve hotels wary of finalists’ trips as students ‘riot’ in Spain

Last Saturday around 1,200 Portuguese students in their final school year were ordered to leave the Camino Real hotel in Torremolinos, southern Spain, after they allegedly caused thousands of euros worth of damage and destruction.
It came following what the students complained was “a week of disagreements with the hotel owners, a lack of basic hygiene conditions and poor service”, as national newspaper Correio da Manhã reports.
On Monday, Portugal’s Minister of Education said that the case of alleged damage caused by the thousand-strong group of high-school students believed to be from Braga in northern Portugal, is being “closely followed by the government” and that the matter needs to be carefully looked into to establish what “truly happened.”
Police in Malaga told Portugal’s Lusa News Agency that both the hotel where the students, aged 14 to 17, stayed, and the tour operator that organised their trip, had lodged complaints with regard to the incident, and that an investigation has been launched.
According to Lusa, the management of the Pueblo Camino Real hotel claimed that hundreds of Portuguese students caused thousands of euros in damage during their stay in the facility last week, forcing it to call in the authorities.
It said that 800 students had been kicked out of the hotel, having “destroyed tiles, thrown mattresses out of the windows, drained fire extinguishers in the corridors of the hotel and put a television in a bath-tub.”
Meanwhile, the manager of the Portuguese travel agency that organised the trip told Lusa that it has lodged two separate complaints with local police against the hotel: one for undue appropriation of deposits, and another for failing to comply with contractual agreements.
Speaking to Lusa, Nuno Dias, head of the Slide In Travel agency, said that the hotel where the students had stayed had refused to hand back €35,000-worth in deposits despite failing to prove that they had caused the extent of damage it alleged, and over the six days that the students were there, the hotel had provided a service that fell short of what was contracted.
Hotel ‘left a lot to be desired’
Following their departure from Torremolinos, claims from the students surfaced in which they accuse the hotel of failing basic expectations.
Speaking to newspaper Correio da Manhã (CM), the group argued they “paid €450 for full board” but that was not what they got.
“The food, the hygiene of the rooms and the changing of towels left a lot to be desired”, said Miguel Candeias, who was in charge of the group.
A student who did not want to be identified said: “They accused [the Portuguese students] of having destroyed the first floor of the hotel but I went to check and I did not see anything spoiled. We wrote in the complaints book but they threw the sheets [of paper] in the trash.”
Another added: “I was taking a shower and a security guard came in, even with the door closed. They forced everyone to leave the rooms early.”
Teachers and school directors have stood by the teens.
Finalists should “boycott Spain”
Every Easter-time thousands of Portuga’s 12th-year students head off across the border or to other destinations on a time-honour trip that is seen as a sort of rite of passage to celebrate leaving high school.
Mário Nogueira, president of the Fenprof national teacher’s union, has called for a boycott against Spain as a destination for finalists’ trips.
“We have places that are so good; I don’t understand why we don’t boycott [finalists’] trips to Spain.
“The Spanish hotel industry is a huge abuse because all they do is try to make money from the kids, without complying with obligations”, he accused.
Algarve ups prices to deter finalist jaunts
However, it seems the Algarve might not be at the top of students’ lists for finalists’ trips, after it emerged that in recent years, the region has been upping its prices and deposit fees as a way of deterring high-school leavers from choosing the region for their breaks.
In comments to CM, Elidérico Viegas, head of the Algarve’s largest hotel and resort association AHETA, said “the region’s establishments are avoiding accepting organised excursions as a means of putting a stop to situations of instability caused by students, such as disturbing other clients, but also material damage that has been caused and which then requires compensation, which would cause conflicts.”
The head of AHETA said to prevent this, the Algarve’s strategy has been in recent years to implement “greater demands” on travel agencies that organise finalists’ trips, such as higher deposits, which in turn drives the students and agencies to look elsewhere.
Coaches checked at borders
Meanwhile, an operation staged by the GNR police to clamp down on coaches carrying students on finalists’ trips over the border, has culminated in 12 fines being issued.
The GNR’s Operation ‘Spring Break’ aimed to “prevent the adoption of risky behaviour by young people, who travel at this time of year to the south of Spain and Catalonia on school holidays, as well as to ensure the safety conditions of the vehicles that transported them.”
Staged between 5 and 9 April, GNR officers and sniffer dogs inspected a total of 84 coaches at border crossings in Vilar Formoso (Guarda), Caia (Portalegre) and Vila Real de Santo António (Faro).
In one incident, a teen was found carrying a large slab of the drug, hashish. He was taken to a local police station and his parents called to collect him.

Comments

Be the first to comment on this article

Interactive Topics, send us your comments/opinion on this article.


Please enter the letters as they are
shown in the image.
Letters are not case-sensitive.
Edition 1453
09 December 2017
Edition: 1453

Read this week's issue online exactly as it appears in print.

Twitter