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Lusa - Business News - Portugal: Algarve tourism seeks alternatives to UK market amid pandemic

Lisbon, July 10, 2020 (Lusa) - The Algarve tourism is looking for alternatives to the British market, which accounts for a third of the overnight stays in the region and almost half of the passengers disembarked at Faro airport and hopes that the British government will reverse its position.

"Let us have no illusions because a market that represents one-third of external markets does not have a quick solution to fill this gap," the president of the Algarve Tourism Region, João Fernandes, (RTA) told Lusa.

Fernandes pointed out that almost half (49%) of the four and a half million passengers arriving at Faro airport are from the United Kingdom and, in terms of overnight stays, they represent a third (33%) of the total overnight stays in the foreign market, with six million in classified hotels.

He pointed out that there are 100,000 local accommodation beds as well as around 200,000-second homes, which are not included in the calculations of Statistics Portugal.

Portugal has been excluded from a list of countries with which the UK has established an air corridor, in a system that will come into force on Friday and exempts those arriving on British soil from quarantine.

Until now, anyone arriving from abroad in the UK had to stay 14 days in isolation or risk a fine of £1,100.

Fernandes said that the only market that could make a buffer effect on the British is the national one and is the one that usually has the most presence in July and August.

This is why he said that it was necessary to strengthen the demand for Portuguese, Spanish, Germans, French, Irish and Italians nationals - markets that have been exploited in the diversification of the bet.

In the region, the decrease in tourists is easily perceptible - for example, in a walk on the beach, or on the sidewalk of Quarteira, in Loulé - usually full at this time of year, and one of the examples that, in the Algarve, it does not seem to be the high season.

Speaking to Lusa, the director of Hotel D. José, José Soares, just a few metres from Quarteira beach, said that occupation is at 45%/55%.

The hotel manager showed concern about the lack of the British market and added they were working with the Portuguese.

In the various scenarios he outlined for this summer, the goal was to stay within the costs of the operation, using as little as possible the funding they made.

Soares was confident that as soon as the conditions for the British to visit Portugal and the Algarve are changed, especially at the end of the month, demand will be greater.

He said there needed to be an incisive diplomatic job and also to bring journalists from the big English media to be in the region and to feel and pass on the image that there is no problem and no pressure from the pandemic.

Soares concluded by stressing that the Algarve has a very strong image and will come out stronger.

Although there are few of them, it is still possible to find tourists walking or on the beach in Quarteira. Lusa found that there are tourists confident with the choice they have made for their holiday destination in Quarteira.

"I felt very safe here - the Algarve does not even have that many cases. I know there has been an outbreak in Lisbon, but I have been told that the Algarve has not had any problems for some time. I feel safer here than in London," a young English tourist said.

During her stay, she received some messages from friends asking how things are going and if everything is open, to which she replied that she does not feel very different, although everyone wears a mask, the restaurants are open, and I just need to call and book.

A German couple with two children leaving the beach said that it is a situation that arises in all countries and that if they respect the rules and distance, they are safe.

The tourism sector has been one of the most affected since the beginning of the pandemic - and it is now worse in the Algarve, in the high season, after several countries have forced their citizens into quarantine if they travel to Portugal.

Businesspeople are revealing falls in business activity in the different sectors - of about 70% to 90% - and unemployment in the region grew by more than 200 per cent in May compared to the same period in 2019.



Agency : LUSA

Date : 2020-07-11 09:28:49


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