According to a press release from the ATA, the President of AHETA was quoted, about the hypothetical opening of the destination only in 2021.

“We are clarifying that AHETA was asked for a clarification, that this association was promptly available to be provided in the form of a disclaimer, which we attached together and which was sent to our communication agency in this market, as well as to the respective delegation of Turismo de Portugal, for its dissemination.

“Nevertheless, even though the statements in question have been decontextualized from the true intention expressed, the fact is that the potential repercussion in the image of the destination has forced a redoubled effort in the communication carried out by ATA, which prepared a press release, addressed to the UK, highlighting the special security conditions and the reopening of tourist activity in the region,” said the statement

The ATA confirmed that they are currently working intensively to minimise the impact of the article and that the association has already contacted The Sun newspaper and the journalist responsible for the article.

A new press release has now been sent to the UK media to highlight the region as a destination for tourism this summer.

João Fernandes, President of Algarve Tourism said: “The country was quick to adopt preventive measures and extensive testing at an early stage to mitigate the spread of the pandemic, and as a result we have had much fewer cases than other European countries. Furthermore, the Algarve is one of the least affected regions in Portugal, and so we are now in a position to carefully plan a gradual reopening of its economic and social activity”.

Already, golf courses, marinas and car hire businesses are open with strict health protocols in place and over a third of hotels in the region are open with 75% expected to be open in June and most open in July.

The ATA maintains that beaches will open in June, with health regulations and procedures in place, that restaurants will open on 18 May with 50% capacity restrictions and that water parks will open in June and July.

João Fernandes says that “As a result of a large effort by the national authorities, public and private sector agents in the region to define the best practices in terms of safety and security, the Algarve is ready to restart its tourist activity. Sector agents in the region are strongly committed to reopening their businesses in a gradual, responsible and safe manner.”

The new press release from the ATA is currently being distributed across the media in the UK and Ireland and is also being sent to members of the British community in the Algarve to help spread the word about tourism in the Algarve