Algarve hotels at risk of “overbooking”, warns tourism source

Though the Algarve’s tourism sector is expecting another record-breaking year, Patrícia Bürer from the Carvoeiro Clube Group has warned that hotels are trying so hard to have a successful 2016 that they are at serious risk of “overbooking”.
In fact, a source from a Swiss tour operator has told Bürer that “this is already causing trouble”.
“I honestly hope that hotels in the Algarve are aware of how many rooms they are booking. If they only have 15 rooms available for July, but are trying to sell 50, it is a big risk,” she told Barlavento newspaper.
As tourism experts have explained, the Algarve is benefitting from attracting holidaymakers who would habitually choose destinations like Tunisia, Greece or Turkey.
“In January, we (Carvoeiro Clube) had already rented all of our best villas,” Bürer said.
“Last summer, we didn’t attract markets with enough spending power for these kinds of properties. For example, a luxury villa costs €3,000 per week on average at the peak of summer,” she explained.
This is why the group’s general manager believes that 2016 is a great chance for the Algarve to prove its worth.
“We need to offer quality. In the years during the crisis, we were very limited and couldn’t improve our competitiveness.
“Now, we have a chance to win back the Scandinavian markets, which have a big spending power.”
She explained, however, that rival markets are already working hard to win holidaymakers’ trust.
“It’s just a matter of time. We have to sell everything that is positive about Portugal in order to have our tourists returning next year,” she said.
Thus Bürer has called on her peers to work on improving the quality of hotels.
“We cannot relax in this business. I sometimes feel like my colleagues don’t understand that. It seems like they don’t care about innovating and meeting the demands of today’s clients,” she said.
Bürer would like to create an “informal organisation in which the hotel managers of the area could meet regularly”.
“This already happens in Switzerland’s Alps, where they share ideas. Here, I feel that people work against each other and not together. It’s a shame, because together we would be stronger.”
Bürer also considered Portugal’s bureaucracy a “serious obstacle to foreign investment”, and said that many home owners give up on renting their homes because doing so legally is “so complicated and takes so much time”.
“It takes away their motivation to make investments. It’s the opposite of what we need”, she stressed.