Algarve companies refuse to give up as Covid crisis continues

Algarve entrepreneurs “will not give up” and continue to believe in the region’s economic potential despite the crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, said business association NERA.

The local association sent out a statement to the press reiterating the will of business owners to continue to fight, “with all their strength”, for the reopening of the economy.

As NERA points out, this is a “global crisis” that is affecting the whole word, “even the richest and most developed countries, such as the USA”.

It stresses that international tourism regressed 75% in 2020, with the number of tourists dropping from 1.4 billion in 2019 to just 400 million last year.

But despite the worrying statistics, the association believes it’s just a matter of time before the tourism sector recovers, especially in a region like the Algarve, “which has so much to offer and a solid reputation among international markets”.

Says NERA, “tourism is the engine of our economy.” How long the recovery will take, however, is unknown due to the uncertainty surrounding the evolution of the economy and the global tourism industry.

“The key is to bring the pandemic under control – using a common strategy – or there will be no mobility, no travel and no tourism.”

To achieve this, NERA says countries must control existing outbreaks and complete vaccination programmes.

However, it also believes a common strategy among countries and international organisations is needed, something they have “so far failed to agree on”.

According to NERA, the best-case scenario would be a “moderate recovery” starting in the second half of 2021 and continuing into 2022, with 2023 “hopefully” returning to “numbers similar to those of 2019”.

However, if the pandemic proves difficult to bring under control this year, it could be 2024 before the tourism sector begins to ‘return to normal’.
But will companies be able to survive until then?

Says NERA, they will have to “resist and fight” to stay alive by trying to “improve their financial and operational health” using the government’s support measures for businesses.

Companies must also “maintain and improve the quality of their products and services in order to be on a par with international competition”, it adds.

NERA is a Loulé-based association bringing together businesses and associations from all sectors of society, including commerce, agriculture, tourism and real estate.