Tourism chief Desidério Silva argued that the decision to award a licence for the ENI-Galp consortium to drill in the Aljezur area will gravely affect tourism in the region.
The head of the RTA described the region as an increasingly popular niche destination for nature tourism, and said “the decision to authorise exploration for hydrocarbons is clearly an attack on the Algarve brand and its value to the country’s economy.”
He further said the move, made public last weekend, would have “severe and adverse affects on environmental and ecological balances” from this “highly dangerous and polluting” activity.
“The Central Government’s decision is all the more surprising when, not long ago, it decided to cancel the oil exploration contracts in the Algarve with Portfuel and with the Repsol/Partex consortium”, he recalled, adding the move had suggested that hydrocarbon exploration plans in the Algarve “had been definitively cancelled”.
Desidério Silva argued “the people of the Algarve were apparently mistaken, as were the general economic agents operating in the region and other entities that have protested against the advance of that industry.”
The president of the Algarve Tourism Board says he still believes that the decision “can be quickly repealed.”
At the same time environmental association Quercus also released a statement criticising the license granted to the ENI-Galp consortium to proceed in Aljezur.
A protest is being organised against the drilling, to be staged outside of Parliament in Lisbon later this month, on 23 February.