“The government, as soon as it became aware of the situation … asked [airport operator] ANA for explanations and immediately asked [it] to take steps to withdraw a post that is contrary to the interests of the … nation’s economy,” a statement issued by the Ministry of Infrastructure and Housing reads.
According to the ministry, ANA “has already started looking into what happened and immediately withdrawn the link in question”, after deputies for the governing Socialist Party (PS) and opposition Social Democratic Party (PSD) had reported the campaign, which was for flights to the city of Marseille.
The text called on people to “flee the Algarve confusion and relax in France”.
The two parties’ positions were expressed by two deputies who represent Faro, with Cristóvão Norte of the PSD describing the campaign as “defamatory” and demanding that the post “be immediately removed” and Luís Graça of the PS calling for “the immediate suspension” of the campaign.
Norte said that he had received “dozens of complaints” from his constituents about the campaign.
Luís Graça, who is also president of the PS Algarve Regional Federation, called for “the immediate suspension of campaigns sponsored by Faro Airport, promoting foreign destinations as an alternative to the Algarve”, and expressed his dissatisfaction with the publication through social media.
In the meantime, the president of the Algarve tourist board, João Fernandes, also “vehemently” condemned the campaign as an “attack on the image of the main national tourist destination”. However, he expressed his “confidence in Faro airport as one of our main partners committed to the success” of tourism in the Algarve.
Sofia Ribeiro, the director of digital marketing for Brandworkers, the company responsible for the questionable social media post, said in a statement: “Brandworkers deeply regrets the negative impact caused by this publication, previously rejected by Faro Airport. Brandworkers therefore assumes full responsibility in this failure.”