The Mayor highlighted that new investments have emerged, particularly in terms of restaurants, hotels and local accommodation.
"Some of these investments serve to rehabilitate existing spaces and attract people", he pointed out.
"But investments can still increase and they should. We continue to need Guarda to have more large-scale hotel equipment", affirms Sérgio Costa, stressing that the operation of the Hotel Turismo would be essential to attract people.
The Mayor considered that the Walkways "changed the economy" of the region and increased the attractiveness of the territory.
"Not only in our municipality but in the entire region. The neighboring municipalities are also benefiting from this new tourist attraction", he maintained.
In his opinion, the 125 thousand visits recorded in the first year reflect the "great expectations" created around the Walkways and the results of the promotion campaign.
"People come from all over the country and a good part of Spain".
The operators approached by Lusa recognised that the equipment is driving an increase in visitors to the region.
Tiago Marques, from Quinta da Alqueidosa, located in the parish of Trinta e Corujeira, pointed out that an increase in visitors has been noticed, especially in the season considered to be slower between the end of September and November.
The businessman promoted the effort that has been made by economic agents to improve and respond to the high flow of people, particularly in terms of restaurants.
At the TerraSense hotel, recently opened in Videmonte, a village with an access point to the Walkways, most guests come to see the equipment, confirmed Neuza Almeida.
The businesswoman admitted that she was very surprised by the attractiveness of the project, which she considered to be an added value, because it also boosts small businesses in the village, from taverns to cheese production.
The increase in visitors is also being felt in Sara Azevedo’s family business.
The Casas do Xisto rural tourism complex, in the village of Videmonte, has registered a slight increase in demand.
There are mainly national tourists, but during festive seasons in Spain, many Spaniards also arrive.
Sara Azevedo said that the balance is clearly positive.
Also considering that the Walkways allow "to showcase another perspective of Serra da Estrela that is normally associated with the Tower. And it’s much more than that."
To meet the flow of tourists and the needs of tour operators in the region, the Institute of Employment and Professional Training advanced in Guarda with a Tourist Information and Entertainment Technician course.
"It is a response to the new dynamics throughout the region. It could come to fill some gaps in Guarda, but also in other neighboring municipalities", Anabella Rocha, director of the Guarda Employment Center, explained to Lusa.
The director stated that there has been very high dynamism throughout the region and that there will always be a need in all areas of the sector.
The Mondego Walkways, which opened on 6 November 2022, stretch for 12 km between the Caldeirão Dam and the village of Videmonte, in the territory of the Serra da Estrela Natural Park and UNESCO World Geopark.
The route uses existing paths and has wooden walkways and suspension bridges. Along the way, it is possible to see traces of industrial heritage from old wool factories or electricity production factories.