Algarve hotels practically closed at Easter

in News · 29-03-2020 11:18:00 · 0 Comments

Algarve hotels will be practically closed during the Easter period, as the covid-19 pandemic is creating a “unique” situation, and the units that will continue to operate soon will also will close, a business association admitted

Asked by Lusa about whether the Algarve hotels could be completely closed in that period, the president of the Algarve Hotels and Tourism Enterprises Association (AHETA), Elidérico Viegas, replied: “Yes, exactly, and if some are not closed, it is as if they were, it is not worth thinking about another scenario”.

The head of the main hotel association in the Algarve said that businessmen are going through a “situation that was unthinkable two weeks ago”, when “no one would think that the whole hotel business in the Algarve would close, as it is closing”, and asked the Government to be “more daring” in supporting companies.

"The most important hotels in the region are all closed, and the others, which may not yet be, will be," estimated Elidérico Viegas, warning that the "activity is being reduced to zero" and companies are feeling various problems, created by home confinement, air traffic limitation and access control at land borders imposed by the state of emergency enacted to contain the expansion of the pandemic.

The president of AHETA acknowledged that everyone is "living a unique, exceptional period, that no one has lived before", and that "it looks like a nightmare", and corrected Lusa's question when asked about how many hotels have already closed in the Algarve.

“The question of how many are closed should not be asked, one should ask how many are still open. And those who are still, sooner or later will close”, he countered, without advancing numbers.

The hotels that still remain open "are running out of the last customers", who are also "returning to their countries of origin", and "all of them are currently on their way to closing", he insisted.

The idea that domestic tourism could help counteract the trend of falling employment from other countries is no longer applicable, because “at this moment it does not exist, people are, following emergency measures, confined to their normal homes and also don't move,” he added.

"The large hotel chains in the country, such as Pestana, Vila Galé or Tivoli, are all closed, we will not think that the other hotels, more independent and smaller, are open, it makes no sense", he argued.

Regarding the economic support measures announced by the Government for hotels / tourism and for companies to deal with the crisis caused by the pandemic, Elidérico Viegas considered that, “although progress has been made to facilitate implementation, the truth is that there is still a lot of bureaucracy involved around the measures”.

The President of AHETA asked the Government to “be more daring” and to follow other countries in the European Union, which “bear the wage costs” of those who are inactive at 70 or 80 percent, and recalled that the credit lines “are not subsidies” and “will have to pay” the loans with interest that “are unreasonably high”.

Elidérico Viegas defended that these credits should be managed by an “Tourism Financing Institute”, through Turismo de Portugal, which would “replace the banking sector in the granting of loans to business activity, whether hotel or tourism”, because, currently, “between requests and approvals, an excessive amount of time elapses” until support reaches companies.

The State should also “exempt” companies from tax obligations rather than “defer them for later”, he defended, considering that this is an “unparalleled crisis” and, “if the State does not assume its role, companies will not be able to recover the economy in the recovery phase”.


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