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Algarve fully booked for summer

By PAULO SILVESTRE [email protected]

Despite the economic crisis, many national and international tourists are still choosing the Algarve to spend their holidays and according to tourism chiefs, this summer will be better than last year.

According to tourism authorities, the hotels in the region are booked to full capacity for the second half of July and August.

To attract more tourists, several Algarve resorts have opted to readjust their prices and are now offering promotional holiday packages.

The president of the Algarve hotels and tourist resorts association (AHETA), Elidérico Viegas, told the Algarve Resident: “The Algarve is a holiday destination for all budgets. The special hotel deals attracting many visitors combined with the tension felt in Greece and in countries in North Africa have also contributed to higher numbers of tourists in our region this summer season.

“Tourists from the UK are also returning to the Algarve in large numbers. More British holidaymakers are visiting us in comparison to last year.

“Instability in countries like Tunisia, Egypt and Greece is also positive for the region’s tourism,” he added.

The AHETA president said that despite better occupation numbers when compared to last year, which he considered one of the worst for Algarve tourism, the income for the region will not bring great results when compared to 2010.

“This is because prices are lower and special half board packages mean that tourists are not spending as much money in restaurants,” said Elidérico Viegas.

He said that a worsening economic crisis in the country could mean less Portuguese visiting the region but the increase of tourists from the British and German markets is expected to make up for any losses.

Meanwhile, a study carried out by the Institute for Tourism Planning and Development (IPDT) shows that most Portuguese will not be going away on holidays this summer and 76% of respondents will not be booking holidays abroad.

IPDT also reveals that 58.8% of respondents estimated that the country will receive more foreign tourists this summer than in the same period of 2010.

Seven in 10 respondents believe that revenues from international markets will be better or at least equal to last year.

Do you have a view on this story? Please email Editor Inês Lopes at [email protected]