Turismo de Cascais asks the Government for urgent measures

in News · 22-07-2020 11:52:00 · 2 Comments

The president of the Cascais Tourism Association said on 17 July that tourism in the region is going through a “never seen before” crisis and asked the Government to take urgent support measures.

In a statement to Lusa, Bernardo Corrêa de Bastos he admitted that the Cascais area (Lisbon district), as other Portuguese areas, is going through a very hard phase in the high season and underlined that the national market “is clearly not enough” to fill the hotels and local habitation that Cascais possesses.

“We would advise the Government to think about a strategy, a direct injection of capital into hotels, because we are going to have a very serious crisis that will be very harmful in the coming years. It will be better to inject money directly into entrepreneurs than into Social Security in the future and have to bear these costs with unemployment benefits”, he affirmed

The numbers, he stressed, are “shocking”, with breaks reaching 100 percent.

“In the hospitality sector, in March the drop was 78 percent, in April 100 percent and in May 98 percent. Some hotels were open to provide support with their accommodation and units available to health professionals in the municipality of Cascais, within their social responsibility. They are hosting doctors and nurses and other health professionals, but without the activity”, he said.

The president of the Cascais Tourism Association fears that many companies will close due to the crisis generated by the pandemic.

“I spoke with the directors of the hotels in Estoril, who had a substantial number of reservations which have all been cancelled. We had some hope for a tourism recovery”, he said.

Bernardo Corrêa Bastos recalled that the region had prepared itself, that the Cascais City Council made tests available to the entire population and that the contingency measures were taken by the hotels, but the tourists did not appear as expected.

“The national market, which still has a significant representation, is not what Cascais needs at the moment, because the largest representation is that of the international market as a whole. Cascais is suffering enormously from this situation”, he said.

The official recalled that several campaigns have been carried out internationally since the peak of the pandemic, as well as nationally.

“We recently launched the ‘Boa cama, Boa mesa’ guide to stimulate the national market, but the national market is not enough to fill all the hotels and local accommodation need. It is clearly not enough”, he stressed.

According to Bernardo Corrêa Bastos, 99 percent of the hotels were closed in April and May.

“The numbers at the beginning of the year were very encouraging, we were expecting it to be the best year ever for Cascais. We have been improving our numbers over the past years, whether in number of guests or the average price. We had the highest average price in the country, and at this moment, it is a catastrophe”, he said.

For this reason, the association considers that the Government must take urgent measures to help the sector: “We have been having talks. The Confederation of Tourism met and the association was present. The situation that the country and the different regions are experiencing at the moment was explained and this point was touched on, but there were no major measures presented. We do not feel the prime minister’s usual optimism”, he said.

In his view, the Ministry of Economy, which is responsible for tourism, and the Prime Minister “must look at the sector with a very critical eye.”

On 16 July, the Confederation of Tourism of Portugal demanded more robust and quicker measures for the sector, highlighting that the most urgent is the extension of the simplified lay-off until December covering all tourist branches.


Comments:

I lived two years in Cascais, 2015-17. Prices escalated. Tourists crowded the streets and roads. I moved t0 Cacilhas. I miss the small town atmosphere of Cascais and buying more than a dozen roses for five euros at the open market, but I do not miss the rich foreigners nor tourists. Even prices here started to climb before Covid-19 hit, so I may have to move again next year. Portugal has to decide if Portugal is for tourists or locals. Better yet, Portugal should regulate the numbers arriving to visit - set an example for sustainable tourism for Europe's future.

By Alice Walker from Other on 24-07-2020 04:53

Interesting that despite the "never seen before" crisis in tourism the majority of hotels continue to charge normal prices or immaterial discounts. The way to get people back booking is to substantially lower your prices. Yes this will decrease profits in the short term, maybe even lead to losses but may save the industry long term. Let the local market serve you, but lower prices!

By I Wonder from Lisbon on 22-07-2020 04:01
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