2017: another “record year” for Algarve tourism

2017 has been dubbed another “record-breaking year” for the Algarve’s tourism sector, with more passengers at Faro Airport and more golf rounds played in the region than ever before. Hotel guests, revenue and occupation rates also climbed to heights “never before seen”.

The good news was announced on Wednesday by the Algarve tourism association (ATA) which says its goals for 2017 were achieved in terms of “promoting the region in foreign markets”.

“We were supported by 44 partnering companies in 2017 – nine more compared to 2016 – and for 2018 we already have 52 private entities that will work with us, which shows a strong sign of confidence in the work we have been developing,” said ATA boss Dora Coelho.

In other words, more companies are helping ATA spread the word about the Algarve and what it has to offer holidaymakers not just in the summer but as a year-round destination. The extra help certainly seems to be paying off.

Faro Airport welcomed a record 8.7 million passengers in 2017, 1.1 million more than the previous year.

The Algarve’s golf courses also saw more golf rounds being played than ever before, with the region now accounting for around 70% of all rounds played in Portugal.

ATA also stresses that the increased focus on nature and active tourism, such as cycling and walking, wellness, birdwatching and even surfing, as well as on the ‘Meetings and Incentives’ niche, has contributed to the historic results and ensured that more hotels stay open for winter.

“This shows that the Algarve is starting to position itself as a destination that is active all year round,” Dora Coelho said.

She also explained that the “profile of the tourists who visit us is starting to change”.

“They don’t just come here to go to the beach. There is a growing demand for a more alternative, authentic and genuine Algarve.”

Dora Coelho has also highlighted the international prizes that the Algarve won in 2017, which “continue to increase the region’s recognition aboard” and have even sparked interest from the media in countries such as Australia, the Philippines and also in South America.

“Too dependent on the UK”

Now that 2018 is already here, the goal is to keep tourism numbers growing.

The key could be in countries such as Poland, Italy, the USA and Brazil, which have registered a growing interest in Portugal, as well as Germany, France, Ireland, the Netherlands and Sweden.

As Dora Coelho explains, the Algarve is still “too dependent on the UK”.

“Thus, it is important to intensify our investment in other markets and continue working towards attracting new and more frequent air links”.

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