The tourist occupancy rate for June in the Algarve is expected to be around 80 percent, with around 17,000 passengers currently arriving at Faro airport daily, the president of Turismo Algarve told Lusa.
“There are clear signs that demand from national and foreign tourists has resumed, which is more positive than the outlook at the beginning of the year,” said João Fernandes, president of Algarve Tourism Region (RTA), estimating the occupancy for the long weekends in June are at around 80 percent.
According to the RTA president, bookings from June to October “are at levels close to those of 2019”, with the return of traditional tourism from the United Kingdom and Ireland, and also those that play golf, which in recent years “showed significant drops”.
100 flights a day
There are, on average, 100 flights arriving daily in Faro, representing about 17,000 passengers.
There has also been a significant increase in the arrival of groups of companies that travel to the Algarve to hold meetings, as well as tourists from French-speaking European countries, such as France, Belgium and Switzerland, noted João Fernandes.
The president of RTA warned, however, of the lack of manpower in various sectors of the Algarve, including tourism, due to the fact that there are “less and less young people entering the job market”.
“Before, people went to the Alentejo to look for workers”, said Fernandes. Now that the Alentejo has also developed its tourist sector, the only option to meet staffing needs is “to recruit people from outside the country”.
This is despite the fact that the region has been “significantly increasing” the remuneration paid in the sector, he said.
The official pointed out two solutions to solve the problem: “speeding up” the mechanisms to bring in labour from abroad, namely, with the help of the Foreigners and Borders Services (SEF), and “ensuring decent conditions” of residence for these workers, who are increasingly permanent.
Fernandes was keen to welcome the contingency plan approved at the end of May by the Government, which will increase resources at national airports, including Faro, to respond to a greater influx of people into the country during the summer months.
It is not yet possible to conclude whether the war in Ukraine contributed to the increase in foreign tourism in the Algarve, but Fernandes recognised that the region benefits from the fact that it is far from the conflict and that Portugal is considered a safe country.
According to the president of RTA, Portugal showed “a good response” in its fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. On top of this, the Algarve received some international awards during the pandemic, which “reinforced the notoriety” of the region.
“We are reaping the fruits of our labour”, he concluded.