New Year's Eve_Albufeira

90% of Algarve end-of-year packages booked

Although the Algarve offers programmes for all budgets, hotels with the most expensive packages “were the first to fill up”.

Algarve hotels with special entertainment packages for the end of the year have an occupancy rate above 90%, and many of them are already sold out, estimated the president of the sector’s leading regional association.

“It’s a long weekend and, based on the feedback from hotels with an end-of-year entertainment programme, these have excellent occupancy rates. All of them [have occupancy rates] above 90%, and many of them are full”, stated Hélder Martins, president of the Association of Hotels and Tourist Enterprises of the Algarve (AHETA).

The president added that, according to a survey carried out by the association, the “many dozens” of hotel units that offer special end-of-year packages, with accommodation, dinner and shows, among other services, “were already full”.

“Whoever is working, if they have an end-of-year programme, they are doing well. Those who don’t have a programme are receiving last-minute bookings this week from people coming for street events”, he noted, highlighting that the good weather forecasts for this period are another positive factor.

Although around 40% of hotels in the Algarve are closed, AHETA expects an occupancy rate “in the order of 70 to 75%” will be reached by New Year’s Eve, “higher than last year”.

“We are at the peak of the low season. We had more than 80% [occupancy rate] in October, 45% in November, and 35% in [the entire month of] December last year. This year will improve because Christmas was much better, too”, highlighted Hélder Martins.

The Algarve has offers for all budgets, from the most expensive to the most economical. Still, the president of AHETA acknowledged that hotels with the most expensive packages “were the first to fill up”.

“It’s a bit like what happened in the summer: those who have money want to travel and have availability. He pointed out that those with difficulties such as paying interest on their mortgage or other problems have more difficulties”.

Portugal remains the primary tourist market for New Year’s Eve, including “people who decide at the last minute”. But there is also a lot of demand from the English, Irish, French, Germans and Scandinavians, particularly in Vilamoura, Albufeira, and Portimão.

Still, Hélder Martins regrets that the Algarve does not have “a unique motivating programme to bring a high number of tourists” to the region. “It is clear that the Algarve, regrettably, does not have an end-of-year programme of significant impact, like Madeira does, for example”.

“We have 20 or more programmes, but we don’t have one big one. Albufeira makes a very significant effort, but each municipality has its own agenda”, he said.

In Albufeira, New Year’s Eve takes place on the street with music from The Gift and the collective Amália Hoje and the Pop Art Parade event, concluding a five-day programme.

On the last night of the year, bands DAMA and Who is Bob? perform in Quarteira, while Diogo Piçarra and Pete Tha Zouk take the stage in Monte Gordo, in Vila Real de Santo António.

In Lagos, Calema is entertaining the public, while Faro hosts the Revenge of the 2000s show, and Portimão says goodbye to the year with Turb’Ó Baile.

LUSA