A slow start for the Algarve

By TPN/Lusa, in News, Algarve · 28-05-2021 01:00:00 · 4 Comments

Bookings by British tourists for hotels in the Algarve have recorded an increase “above expectations”, but the figures are far from “satisfactory” for the region.

“There is a very positive demand for the Algarve from the British market, even above expectations, but we cannot exaggerate the fact that there is one or another hotel unit with high occupancy levels,” the president of the Association of Hotels and Tourist Enterprises of the Algarve (AHETA) told Lusa.

According to the leader, “the size of the rise is not yet known and requires careful analysis” because there are “many units and developments still closed in the Algarve and that will only reopen in June,” so only at the end of this month will it be possible to know “the real impact of demand on the units that are operating.

According to Elidérico Viegas, tourism demand “grew gradually and progressively”, as soon as it became known that Portugal would join the ‘green list’ of safe destinations that exempts citizens from quarantine on their return to the United Kingdom, which happened on 17 May.

However, for AHETA’s leader, the “very satisfactory figures that have been talked about in recent days correspond to one or another unit and not the average for the Algarve”, creating “some disappointment from business owners who do not see themselves reflected in these results”.

“There’s a whole machine that’s been at a standstill for a year and a half and needs to be readapted - because it’s not enough to just start working to get up to speed. It is a gradual process and it will take some time for it to work at full capacity,” he said.

The full operation of the hotel units is also, according to the leader, “dependent on the stability of the markets that send tourists, particularly the British and the domestic market that may be affected by a possible setback caused by the pandemic” of Covid-19.

“If these factors continue, we can expect that this summer will be much better than last year and hope that in September, with the start of the high golf season, demand will be close to normal,” he said.

If this growth outlook is met, the region will be able to prepare itself for “a year of some recovery” in 2022 and, as of 2023, have expectations “of a return to almost normality,” he pointed out.

For Elidérico Viegas, to maintain the recovery in tourism “it is also necessary to create conditions that guarantee that the pandemic will not worsen, namely with the vaccination of the entire population” in the Algarve.

“The mass vaccination of the Algarve’s population is the best way of guaranteeing the safety of people who want to choose the Algarve as their destination. And it is not enough just to talk, we need to move from words to deeds and move forward with essential measures for the safety of all and to reactivate the economy,” he concluded.

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I agree, many uk residents are put off from visiting the algarve due to the expensive testing required, it can cost as much as the actual holiday. My wife will not fly at the moment due to COVID so we had planned to drive down from the uk. That causes its own problems, the uk has placed both France & Spain in the amber category meaning isolation upon returning to the uk. To add to that France now requires uk residents to isolate for 10 days on arrival in France ! As an alternative we looked at a ferry direct from the uk to Porto ( this was to be a new service from Britannia ferries, but unfortunately this has been abandoned- for now).
Hopefully things will settle down soon and we will be able to visit at the end of July, if not it will be next year, but I worry for the incomes and businesses that rely so much on tourism. Another year like the last 12 months will I fear close many good businesses down ( through no fault of their own).
Staff safe, hopefully see you soon.

By Don Hunter from UK on 29-05-2021 01:36


By Ana from Algarve on 28-05-2021 05:36

The big restriction for the British market is the Portuguses requirement for expensive covid tests 72 hours before departure. It's not only the cost but the stress and inconvenience this causes. Compare to Spain where no such test is necessary. It should be sufficient if the British visitor has had both vaccines without the need for the covid test.

By Keith Darby from UK on 28-05-2021 04:07

Hola. I own an apartment in Albufeira and usually visit 10-15 per year. It is very difficult and expensive to get a PCR test 72 hours before entering Portugal and this is stopping many many visitors from coming. I have seen approx 30% of travellers turned away at UK airports because they haven’t done the correct test or their test results haven’t been processed in time for flights. Proof of vaccinations and/or a lateral flow test before departure would undoubtedly increase visitors to Portugal. I thought you would be interested to hear a UK resident’s opinion. Best wishes and hopes for a speedy recovery.

By Catherine Vierucci from UK on 28-05-2021 12:50
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