Albufeira Tourism Park looks to private sector

PRIVATE INVESTMENT appears to be the solution proposed for the advancement of the Tourism Park project in Albufeira. Following several attempts to move the project forward, Albufeira Câmara has now presented a new proposal for the construction of the development, which envisages the financing of 60 per cent of the project by the private sector and the remaining 40 per cent from public funding.

But how to get private investors interested? Albufeira Câmara President, Desidério Silva, has made several attempts to secure money from the state to get the project underway, but, so far, he has failed to justify such an investment, despite the inclusion in the project of a 1,200-seat auditorium. In order to affect a turnaround in fortune, the Mayor has commissioned artist Leonel Moura to totally revamp the architectural scheme, paying special attention to the inclusion of a commercial area, which he hopes will attract private interest for the project.

It is proposed that the former title for the project, “Museum of Tourism”, be dropped in favour of calling it simply “Tourism Park”, where commercial activity and hotels will be given high prominence. Leonel Moura, who devised the initial scheme, has now come up with a new concept for the infrastructure, dividing it into several autonomous buildings. As well as a museum dedicated to tourism, a massive 1,200-seater conference centre is planned, a commercial area, a business centre and a leisure area. The idea is to create a project which will attract future private investors.

Moura was reported as saying that the first structure that should attract the private sector will be the auditorium, which includes a subterranean car park. As conference tourism is on the increase, Moura believes this will be the most viable facility for the advancement of the project in the first place.

Meanwhile, Desidério Silva has stated that the project will go ahead whatever the cost, hoping that private investors will come forward. So far, none have done so. As for the public funds, the Mayor hopes they will be available in 2007. As a footnote, some interest has been manifested in certain quarters for the construction of two hotels in the proposed complex as well as a brand new headquarters for Algarve tourism and hotels body, AHETA.