I read online this week that one of the Algarve hotel bosses is ‘upset’ at the lack of instant results of a project called “Algarve 365”, designed to make the Algarve a year-round tourism destination. He is complaining that it isn’t filling hotel rooms sufficiently. But, in the end, what he is really complaining about is that his industry is not making the kind of money it makes in the summer.
My instant question is: why should it?
First of all, the peak summer season is hell for anyone who lives and works here.
If any of us thought the summer frenzy would be a 12-month feature in our lives, people would run from this sunshine paradise in droves.
Secondly, people employed in the tourism industry need time to recharge their batteries, hug their children and enjoy evenings by the fire, eating meals slowly, instead of gulping food down in order to be ready to pander to the whims of an endless conveyor belt of clients expecting perfect service.
The Algarve should not be seen as a golden goose to be stuffed for foie-gras 365 days a year. It is too special for that, and local people deserve their well-earned rest when the place is back to being just theirs again, even if it does mean that there is slightly less money in evidence.
Success is too often mistaken for euros in the bank and, in this case, the person winging comes from a corner of the industry that traditionally pays its staff peanuts in return for inhuman working hours.
Algarve 365? No, please, let’s leave it the way it is: ‘Algarve mais ou menos 200’.