The Algarve is the Portuguese region that has received the most government support since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. So said Economy Minister Pedro Siza Vieira in Parliament on Wednesday. He nonetheless promised to devote “special attention” to the region.
“The Algarve has received important support. It is perhaps the region which, in proportional terms to the size of its economy, has received the most support in this last year, but I continue to think we have to focus our attention on it for the near future,” he said during an Economy, Innovation, Public Works and Housing Commission hearing.
Said the minister, Algarve companiess have already received grants to the tune of €233 million.
“In the tourism sector alone, taking grants and credit lines into account, Algarve companies have received €353 million-worth of financing,” Siza Vieira stated.
Perhaps realising that while this may be true, it will do little to alleviate the pain of those who have lost their businesses or are struggling to keep them open, the minister guaranteed that he will continue to strive to devote “special attention” to the Algarve.
“I think we need to help companies digest the impact of this crisis,” he said, vowing to help the region ‘get back on its feet’ and regain its ability to attract tourists and events “all year long” but also diversify its economy.
Meanwhile, the minister also said the government has increased the support it is providing to the restaurant sector in Portimão – a region which has been ‘locked’ in the first stage of its emergence from lockdown for nearly three weeks – following Portimão Mayor’s meeting with Prime Minister António Costa last week.
“Portimão is a municipality with a very significant population, where the number of cases was harder to contain, but I also take comfort in knowing that the local council’s actions led to a very important reduction in the incidence of Covid-19 in the borough, and I am convinced that Portimão will be freed from lockdown rules this week,” he said.