"The Hotel Industry Association of Portugal (AHP) considers that the Algarve region, the main national tourist destination whose economy largely depends on the activity, should have priority in the vaccination plan for Covid-19," the association said in a statement, adding that the "proposal is not limited to tourism professionals, but the entire population."

The AHP believes that the Algarve region needs a rapid resumption of tourism activity, on which its economy heavily depends, in order to ensure the maintenance of businesses and jobs, and for this, they presented to the 'task force' of the vaccination plan against Covid-19 the proposal for priority vaccination for the inhabitants and workers of that geography.

The association recalls that the Algarve accounts for around 33 percent of overnight stays by foreigners in Portugal, with overall income exceeding 1,200 million Euros (data from the National Statistics Institute for 2019).

"The progress in the vaccination of residents and tourism professionals in the Portuguese region most visited by nationals and internationals will surely have a positive impact on demand, allowing to accelerate the recovery of the activity and economy of the region, which is fundamentally based on tourism: there are thousands of companies and jobs that depend on it," considered, in the same note, the president of AHP, Raul Martins.

Madeira recently began the process of vaccinating tourism professionals, which should be completed by the end of this month, similarly to other destinations such as Greece and Mauritius, which have defined these professionals as a priority, AHP points out.

"Our proposal goes further, because, as the main tourist region of the country, especially in summer, it is important to ensure the safety and protection of the entire population as soon as possible, on the one hand, and affirm the Algarve before the competition with other destinations, which is fierce, as a safe destination," Raul Martins stressed.

The AHP is therefore calling for the reinforcement and acceleration of vaccination in that part of the country where around 400,000 people live and whose process, it says, is relatively more delayed than in the rest of the country.

According to Eurostat data released in April, the Algarve was the Portuguese region with the highest unemployment rate in 2020, reaching 8.4 percent, followed by Madeira and the Lisbon Metropolitan Area.

AHP also refers to data from the Observatory of Inequalities, which recently published the study "Unemployment in 2020 - Impacts of the Pandemic, Mappings and Reflections", which concluded that "the Algarve is the region of the country where the pandemic is having an absolutely disproportionate impact, largely explained by the fact that the region is very dependent on tourism, with particular emphasis on the municipality of Albufeira".