“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.