Algarve campsites reopen despite uncertain summer

With tourism businesses preparing for a quieter-than-usual summer, Algarve campsites started reopening this week with many reporting growing interest from clients who “feel confident” about the Covid-19 prevention measures in place.

The three campsites managed by Orbitur opened on Wednesday (May 20), while the 15 belonging to the Association of Campsites of the Alentejo and Algarve (APCAA) are planning to reopen on Monday.

“We have been contacted by many clients who want to know what measures are being taken (due to the pandemic) and, after being reassured, they make a reservation,” the manager of the Valverde campsite in Praia da Luz, Teresa Neto, told Lusa news agency.

Some guests have already arrived and “more are expected this weekend”, she said, adding that the management is feeling optimistic about this summer but is aware occupancy levels will be considerably lower than last year.

Portuguese tourists will probably make up most of the bookings this summer, Teresa Neto said, as many are “desperate to get out of the house”.

While many people cancelled their reservations at Valverde for the months of May and June, Neto said many others kept their bookings for July and August and new reservations are already being made both by foreigners and Portuguese.

Campsites allow enough space between guests, which is a “great advantage”, she said, while the ‘Safe & Clean’ seal ensures that all cleaning and hygiene recommendations are adhered to.

Communal spaces such as the playground, pool and restaurant remain closed until guidelines are defined for their safe reopening, confirmed the management.

Meanwhile, the APCAA is planning to reopen its campsites next week “complying with all safety procedures”.

“June is usually a busy month with foreigners who represent 90% of our guests,” said the president of the association Joaquim Lourenço, admitting that this time it will be a very quiet June. Portuguese guests only arrive in July and August.

Lourenço also urged authorities to clamp down on illegal camping and motorhoming and calls on other campsite managers to apply for the Clean & Safe seal as further reassurance for guests.

michael.bruxo@algarveresident.com