“Since restrictions were eased, we have been experiencing a significant increase in UK and Irish bookings, towards the end of February, and for Easter, which suggests that the summer could be at the level of a normal normal”, João Fernandes told Lusa.
According to the president of the Algarve Tourism Region (RTA), for the end of February, “a period that coincides with the intermediate period of school holidays in the United Kingdom, the occupancy rate of planes continues to grow, at a time when there are more than 100 daily flights” at Faro airport.
João Fernandes added that for the Easter period, in April, there is also “a good level of bookings, close to 2019, the best tourist year in the Algarve, along with the longer period from March to May”, very marked by golf tourism.
“This increase in demand and bookings for the spring school holidays period is a great sign of the tourist recovery in these markets and for the summer”, noted the official, estimating that this will be “a year of consolidation of the recovery” of tourism in the Algarve.
According to João Fernandes, the signs of recovery in the region “began after the restrictions on travellers to present negative Covid-19 tests, regardless of being vaccinated, were removed, which increased people’s confidence to travel”, in addition to the “substantial reduction in cost”.
“The mandatory testing ended up being a higher burden than the cost of the flights themselves”, he recalled.
Benefits of coming to the Algarve
The president of RTA added that the Algarve also benefited “by having clear vaccination control measures for access to Portugal for minors over 12 years of age, unlike some competing markets”, such as Spain.
“In Spain there was some confusion around the requirements for access for minors, with restrictions on full vaccination being assumed with both doses, and in the United Kingdom, for example, the vaccination program was delayed for this age group”, he stressed.
For the head of Algarve Tourism, “the region is also benefiting from the good weather, at a time when all of Europe is plagued by bad weather and a winter that is more severe than the Portuguese”.
The official regretted, however, that given the “good prospects” for the tourist recovery, the Algarve faces some “constraints”, such as the lack of human resources, the cost of energy and the goods and services provided to the sector.
João Fernandes also regretted that tourists from Canada, a market that “had a very relevant growth”, are now facing restrictions to enter Europe, after, in January, the country was removed from the list of countries considered safe by the EU.
“We also occasionally have a restriction for Canada, the result of a decision by the European Council, which removed this country from the list of countries without restrictions, with only essential flights allowed, a measure that is in force until February 28 and that we hope will be reversed because it is not justified”, he concluded.