AHETA calls for reform

Hotel owners representative Elidérico Viegas agrees with the new Minister of Tourism’s strategy to revitalise the industry, but has called for even more fundamental structural reforms within the sector.

The new minister, Telmo Correia, and Secretary of State, Carlos Martins, met various groups linked to the tourism industry recently, to discuss their future strategy. Viegas, the President of the Association of Hotels and Tourist Businesses (AHETA), considers the initiative to be “positive”. “This was the first working meeting where we had an opportunity to explore not just the problems connected to tourism in the Algarve, but fundamental structural problems that could redefine the sector in the future,” he said.

The AHETA president believes that the region’s tourism industry needs “profound reform”. Viegas is also keen for the government to re-examine various issues, including the PROTAL land usage plan, the creation of protected tourism areas and the need for a new law to make setting up and running tourist enterprises easier. He believes that these are the principle instruments for “altering the Algarve’s current tourist development model, which has contributed towards the imbalance of our product and has caused us to lack competitiveness.”