The innovative Mediterranean Diet should be explored to help boost the economy of the Algarve, in areas such as culture, health and food, the President of the Algarve Regional Development Commission argued on 9 September.

José Apolinário on 9 September took part in the Health, Food and Mediterranean Diet Seminar, in Tavira where he said that the term Mediterranean has been talked about from a "cultural side", but that it is necessary at the same time to "emphasise the issue of health and food", whilst also boosting tourism.

"We have been talking about the Mediterranean Diet only on the side of Culture, and it is also an integral part of this project, but it is necessary to focus on the side of health and food even to value what is different," said the president of the CCDR of the Algarve about this intangible heritage of humanity recognised by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 2013.

José Apolinário considered that the Mediterranean Diet should be the "anchor" for the projects of the next Community Support Framework 2030 and stressed the need for regional products to be developed and promoted within this framework, as "a brand that sets the Algarve apart".

"When tourism promotes initiatives such as wine tourism, it is also promoting the Mediterranean Diet and, many times, people talk about this wine tourism package and do not talk about the Mediterranean Diet," José Apolinário exemplified, stressing that the delivery of Algarve regional products to tourists at the airport also "promotes the characteristics of the region".

The same source also pointed out that the project announced by the Algarve Intermunicipal Community, is an "effort between all the municipalities, to include local products in school meals", stressing that in this way, this intangible heritage is also promoted.

"Now we have to take a step forward, we have to update the Safeguard Plan [of the Mediterranean Diet], reduce the number of actions so that they can be monitored, be more ambitious and demanding in relation to these actions", he affirmed, considering that the Mediterranean Diet "cannot only be lived when the fair is organised" and has to "be carried out throughout the year".

"It is with this vision that we have to create an update of the safeguard plan", he added, stressing the need to "innovate in gastronomy and cuisine" or "support more research and knowledge about the Mediterranean Diet in all its aspects, of culture, of well-being, and of health".

Tavira is the representative community of the Mediterranean Diet that led the candidacy to intangible heritage of humanity and the mayor, Ana Paula Martins, told Lusa News Agency that the opening, on 9 September, of the 8th edition of the Diet Fair, marks a return to a high point of activities related to this heritage, after a two-year pause due to the pandemic.

The mayor said that the seminar held on 9 September in the city shows that the "the multidisciplinary nature of the diet, and its association with food, health, disease prevention, and even with agriculture, as well as with more sustainable and environmentally friendly cultivation practices, are very important factors to consider" which will in turn "diversify the economic base of the region in the future".

The development of cultural projects, the use of regional resources, such as carob and almond, will allow us to take advantage of the Mediterranean Diet to "develop various aspects", complementing them with the "main economic activity of the region and tourism, so that they can "be a calling card to boost economic activities around" this unique heritage.