Algarve falls behind national average

AVERAGE INCOME per head and productivity is reducing in the Algarve in comparison to the national average.

During the 90s, the Algarve’s income per head and productivity increased by one per cent per year in comparison to the national average but since 2001 this has started to fall.

This statistic has not come as a surprise to those responsible for the region’s main economic activity.

“Tourism in the Algarve has a lower productivity rate than other economic sectors within Europe,” said Elidério Viegas, President of the Associação dos Hóteis e Empreendimentos Turísticos do Algarve (AHETA), the association for hotels and tourist developments in the Algarve.

“For decades there has been talk of diversifying the region’s productivity but instead investment has only increased in the monoculture of tourism instead of fishing and agriculture.”

Income decrease

Gilberto Sousa, President of the Associação do Comércio e Serviços da Região do Algarve, association of commerce and services in the Algarve, said: “The decrease in spending power is evident and it is reflected by the decrease in income.

“We have sought to raise salaries above three per cent, with the understanding that if increases are not greater than inflation then families won’t have money to spend.”

In light of the recent data, Rui Nuno Baleiras, Secretary of State for regional development said: “The region should maintain its focus on tourism, but offer more diversity apart from sun and beach. It should explore businesses that offer more qualified employment.

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